TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Industry Minister Saleh Husin said that Indonesia is facing the threat of being in an energy crisis by 2020-2030. "Indonesia will fall in the middle income trap," the minister said during a discussion on thorium energy in his office Tuesday, May 24.
Saleh said that today Indonesia can only supply 210 watts of electricity to one person. This amount is lower than the standard of 500 watts per person. It also means that it is impossible for the industrial sector to grow anytime soon.
This situation will make investors rethink about investing in Indonesia, where the GDP need against the industrial sector is quite large. Ideally, he said, the industrial sector contributes 30 to 40 percent to the GDP.
Most of our neighboring countries have the minimum standard of installed power supply to citizens. Malaysia can supply 982 watts of electricity per person, which is more than enough to develop the country's industrial sector. Thailand supplies 802 watts for each citizen while Singapore supplies 2,028 watts to one person.
Indonesia must patch this power supply shortage. According to Saleh, Indonesia still needs 10 Giga watts of electricity per year, an amount that requires millions of tons of coal.
Saleh estimated that it takes at least four million tons of coal to produce 1 Giga watt of electricity per year. However, coal is known to be one of the major causes to earth's environmental damages; it pollutes the air and ground water.
The minister suggests using thorium, which is also known as green nuclear, as an alternative to energy source. Thorium is radioactive waste that has seen little use. It only takes about 7 tons of thorium to produce 1 Giga watts of electricity per year.
Indonesia currently has 140,000 tons of thorium supply. This amount can meet the energy needs for a thousand years and can supply the world's energy needs.