Mott MacDonald supports South Sumatra geothermal development

14 June 2018 3 min. read

Mott MacDonald has been commissioned to oversee lender’s technical due diligence on a new geothermal plant in South Sumatra, Indonesia. The plant is projected to generate around 98 MW of power – and is part of the country’s bid to reduce its green house gas emissions.

While wind and solar energy have drawn considerable mention, geothermal too has potential to help offset carbon emissions, while also providing stable energy production. Geothermal plants tend to drill into deep water reservoirs that are stored underground – releasing hot water which is used to generate steam and, therewith, electric current by turbines. The process is relatively efficient, with water pumped back into the reservoir to complete the process.

One such project is being developed in South Sumatra, Indonesia. The project aims to have a generation capacity of around 98.4 MW; enough to supply close to 140,000 homes with sustainable energy, and offsetting around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The country has huge geothermal energy potential, estimated at 29,000 MW South Sulawesi with the country seeking to tap such reservoirs, among other renewable sources, to reduce its green house gas emissions by 29% by 2030.

Mott MacDonald supports South Sumatra geothermal development

To oversee the development of the project for a consortium of lenders, Mott MacDonald was commissioned. The firm’s tasks included technical, social and environmental advisory, which included appraising the design, as well as economic modelling and environmental and social impact and permitting, among other responsibilities. Following the completion of the build, which the firm too is scrutinising, the Mott McDonald consultants will continue to monitor the project throughout its operation. The plant is scheduled to begin operations in 2021.

Tryfon Papalexandrou, Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said; "This commission follows on from our role as lenders’ technical advisor on a previous geothermal power project in West Sumatra, which was financed by the same lenders and successfully reached financial close last year. It also demonstrates our capabilities in helping complex geothermal power projects to achieve financial close, while the coordination of global resources used on this project is a testament to our project management capabilities.”

In addition to the renewables projects in Sumatra, Mott MacDonald has previously been engaged for similar work on recent developments in South Sulawesi – for the Asian Development Bank on the 72 MW ‘Tolo 1’ wind-farm project – and most recently in Thailand on the 67.5MW Sarahnlom project, engaged as the lender’s technical advisor for Siam Commercial Bank.

The global engineering, management and development consultancy has been active in Indonesia since 1969, working in sectors such as urban development, water, energy, transport and mining, and following the 2004 tsunami the firm designed and coordinated a programme to support 10,000 residents on the island of Simeulue with a range of measures to enhance its local fishing industry. Altogether, the firm has over 1,000 employees across nine Asian countries, including Singapore, China, Mongolia, Taiwan and Malaysia.