Lahendong is the first geothermal field developed in eastern Indonesia. The Lahendong Geothermal Education Park (LGEP) whose development was initiated through UGM inter-semester Student Community Empowerment Programme 2015/2016 becomes the first geothermal education park in Indonesia. It is expected that the park can be fully developed in the near future and serve as a public edu-tourism facility and hence inspire the society to creatively develop geothermal-based economic activities.
Road map of the development of the Lahendong Geothermal Education Park
The initiation of the development of the LGEP started in 2011 when the idea of the development of geothermal education parks in Indonesia was published by UGM (in Utami et al., 2011a) at the World Renewable Energy Congress in Bali. UGM was then joined by PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy and the Government of North Sulawesi publishing the idea of the development of the geothermal education park at Lahendong (in Utami et al., 2011b). In 2015 the first step of the development of the LGEP was done through UGM Student Empowermrnt Programme and was launched by all the stakeholders during The First Indonesian Geothermal Festival (6 -7 August 2015). The development process was published by UGM at the pada New Zealand Geothermal Workshop di Taupo (in Utami, 2015).
The LGEP is developed as geothermal public education facility. It will be a tool to nurture the self-learning process about geothermal through tourism activity. By understanding the nature of a geothermal resource and its advantages, and the ways of utilizing the geothermal potentials the community will appreciate geothermal as energy resource, be more strongly support the geothermal field development energy security and for environmental protection, and there will be numbers of young people from North Sulawesi to take up higher studies and career in geothermal.
The key for the success of the development of the education park will be the sustainable synergy among the geothermal stakeholders, including the Government, industry sectors, academics, and the society. We suggest the concept of a “growing park” where the park elements would be made available step by step depending on the availability of such issues as funding, space, the field development.
Recent Map of The Lahendong Geothermal Education Park
We recommend that, in a developed geothermal field such as Lahendong, that park coverage includes both thermal manifestation and the geothermal production and utilization areas. The following are the suggested park elements.
- A starting point with a billboard map. There should also be a brief explanation of the existence of natural geothermal activities in the region and their significance to human’s life.
- A visitor information center which would include a geothermal museum or gallery to allow brief but comprehensive interest in the geothermal surroundings. It should be erected at the entrance to the park. Collections such as geologic specimens from the field, miniatures of the steam field facilities and power station, photographs, sketches, and/or video to explain the history of development of the resource, could well be displayed here. Health and safety procedures for visiting the thermal area could be introduced here as well.
- Safe and clear trails in the field which allow the visitor to follow the flow of explanations from “upstream” (the science of geothermal) to “downstream” (the technology of its thermal energy extraction and utilization).
- Stop sites at thermal interest points with billboards displaying educational diagram of both scientific and legendary interest.
- Signs to warn visitors of geothermal hazard, with clear instructions, in order that they avoid unnecessary accidents and risk.
- Stop sites near the selected fluid production facilities, power plant and/or other utilization facility with billboards showing simple explanations about them (components, function, operating condition, etc). These stop sites must be located in a safe distance from the facilities so that they do not obstruct the operation of the field.
- Lookouts, which should be positioned in strategic places so that visitors are able to enjoy the picturesque views and take a brief rest.
- Muster points that allow visitors to gather safely in the event of geo-hazard or other disaster.
- Other necessary public facilities.
Elements of Lahendong Geothermal Education Park: Information Billboards at Pinus Lahendong (left) and Lahendong Geothermal Power Plant (right).
The Advantages of The Development of Geothermal Education Park
Development of a geothermal education park in Indonesia is relevant to the campaign for the development of geothermal resources in the country. The presence of such a park would be of multi-beneficial significance:
- The park would entice people, especially the young people, to learn about this clean, renewable and sustainable type of energy resource.
- The positive understanding of geothermal energy gained through enjoyable learning in the actual park, would strengthen public support for the promotion of geothermal resource development in the country.
- Well planned geothermal education parks will help increase the quality of the existing eco-tourism as well as increase the popularity of many of our thermal areas previously perceived as less preferred destinations.
The well-developed Lahendong geothermal field with its quality infrastructures is a favorable site for the first geothermal education park in the eastern part of Indonesia. It will inspire and motivate the local young people to participate in the future development of geothermal energy, as part of their own future.