Indonesia started a fund to finance the exploration of geothermal energy resources as the nation seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity.
The finance ministry’s investment agency will manage 3 trillion rupiah ($302 million) this year for geothermal exploration, Saritaon Siregar, the agency’s chairman, said in an interview at a conference in Jakarta.
Local governments that have geothermal areas can use the fund to determine their potential, he said.
Mr. Siregar is hopeful that exploration shows good results, the local government can put the area for bidding and investors that win can repay the exploration funds to them.
The energy source produces 1,341 megawatts, or less than 5 percent of Indonesia’s potential geothermal generating capacity of 29,038 megawatts, according to data from the energy and mineral resources ministry.
Private investors can also apply for loans for geothermal exploration, Siregar said. The agency hasn’t started distributing funds, he said.