Jan. 27 (UPI) -- French energy company ENGIE said it was making a debut in geothermal energy with a commitment to help build a power plant in Indonesia.
The French company is part of a consortium tasked with building the Muara Laboh geothermal plant in Indonesia, a former member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The plant is backed by a $440 million finance agreement coordinated in part by the Asian Development Bank and other regional lenders.
ENGIE said it has the drilling and other subterranean experience necessary to help build a facility that at 80 megawatts, will have the capacity to power 120,000 average homes. The company said construction will take about 30 months.
ENGIE CEO Isabelle Kocher in a statement said her company has the technology needed to help Indonesia "provide their population with efficient low-carbon power generation sources."
Indonesia has about 40 percent of the world's total geothermal resources, which ENGIE said could help the country with its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 29 percent by 2030.
"This project demonstrates Indonesia's commitment to meet increasing demand for electricity and support the development of renewable energy," Yuichiro Yoi, an investment at the ADB, said.
ENGIE touted geothermal energy as a unique source of low-carbon power. The International Energy Agency said it expects the global footprint for geothermal energy to rise from just under 1 gigawatt in 2014 to move than 16 GW by 2020.
A net oil importer, Indonesia was suspended from OPEC in November, less than a year after rejoining the production group. The move toward geothermal follows a December loan of $400 million from the ADB targeting the expansion of the country's Tangguh liquefied natural gas facility so the country was in a better position to meet its own energy needs.
The country exports about half its natural gas and remains one of the largest exporters of LNG in the world.