The Sarulla power plant with a total capacity of 330 MW is the largest geothermal power plant in Indonesia and also one of the 10 largest geothermal power plants in the world.
The Sarulla power plant has three combined cycle units. Construction of the power plant started in May 2014 and the first unit named Silangkitang was completed in March 2017. Units Namora I-Langit 1 and Namora I-Langit 2 started operation in October 2017 and May 2018 respectively.
Located in North Sumatera of Indonesia, the power plant is operated by Sarulla Operations Ltd, a consortium consisting of Medco Energi, Itochu, Kyushu Electric Power Company, Inpex and Ormat with a total investment of US $1.7 billion.
The generated electricity is distributed by PLN, Perusahaan Listrik Negara, which is the state-owned electricity company of Indonesia.
This project demonstrates the commitment of the Indonesian government to increase energy production from renewable resources, especially from its huge geothermal potential. Indonesia has 40% of the world’s geothermal resources. The Indonesia government said three new geothermal power plants will start to operate this year. They are the 55 MW PLTP Lumut Balai, 40 MW PLTP Sorik Marapi and the 5 MW PLTP Sokoria.
The total installed geothermal power in the world in 2018 is 14,600 MW according to ThinkGeoEnergy. The five countries producing more than one Giga Watt (GW) of geothermal power are:
- The USA – 3639 MW
- Indonesia – 1948 MW
- The Philippines – 1868 MW
- Turkey – 1347 MW
- New Zealand – 1005 MW
Here is a little bit of interesting history about the Sarulla project. The Sarulla geothermal resource was originally explored and discovered by Unocal North Sumatera Geothermal. Unocal’s plan to construct the first power plant was suspended during the financial crisis in 1998.