The use of geothermal energy is still limited to indirect use, such as electricity energy or electricity generator. Meanwhile, direct use for agribusiness development needs, such as drying coffee, cloves, and palm sugar, is still rare.
In fact, the potential for geothermal utilization is large enough to develop the agribusiness sector, especially in Lampung.
This problem was revealed in the third webinar held by the House of Collaboration (RUKO) and the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Bandarlampung, Saturday (8/8/2020).
The web seminar entitled “Utilization of Geothermal Energy for Agribusiness”, was guided by journalist from Lampung Tribun, Yoso Muliawan, with four speakers.
The four of them are RUKO activist Zulfaldi, RUKO Abimanyu Advisor, General Manager of PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) Ulubelu Lampung Mawardi Agani, and PGE External Relations Supervisor Ulubelu Arif Mulizar.
“Until now, the implementation of geothermal energy utilization for agribusiness is limited to corporate social responsibility (CSR). So, it is only a demonstration that geothermal can be used for the agribusiness sector,” said GM PT PGE Ulubelu Mawardi Agani.
He said PGE Ulubelu is still focused on managing indirect geothermal energy as power generation energy. Although only limited to CSR, the geothermal energy-based coffee dryer provided by PGE Ulubelu has benefits for local coffee farmers.
“Drying coffee in the sun can take 1-2 weeks. Using geothermal energy only takes two days, so it is more effective and efficient,” he said.
According to PGE’s External Relations Supervisor, Ulubelu Arif Mulizar, even though there was already pilot equipment related to geothermal utilization for agribusiness, it was still not optimal. Lack of education for farmers and technical constraints for use make this tool relatively rarely used by farmers.
“The obstacle is the lack of education for farmers and hard-to-reach demonstration locations, and the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) to reach the location, so farmers find it difficult to use these facilities,” he said again.
The RUKO Advisor, Abimanyu, argued that the government and the public had to pay attention to the utilization of geothermal energy.
He offered a collaboration scheme, namely collaboration between developers and the community that was moderated by the government, so that the use of geothermal energy was not only limited to CSR and research, but could become an industrial scale for the welfare of the community.
“So, how can developers and the community being moderated by the government collaborate with each other to develop the use of geothermal energy for agribusiness for the welfare of the people,” he also said.
“Because, with the pilot project scale it is efficient and effective, then on a larger scale it will certainly be beneficial for the welfare of the community,” said Abimanyu.
RUKO activist, Zulfaldi added, the utilization of geothermal energy for the agribusiness sector can be through inter-village-owned enterprises (BumaDes), Forest Management Units (KPH), Association of Farmers Groups (Gapoktan) and Regional Owned Enterprises (BUMD).
This is because the developer, in this case PGE Ulubelu, is still focused on using geothermal energy for electricity, so that BumaDes, Gapoktan, KPH, and BUMD can be a solution as the party that manages geothermal energy from developers for agribusiness needs.