Geothermal market active with 700 geothermal power projects in 70 countries

By Editor


Greentech Lead America: Geothermal market is growing with 70 countries advancing with nearly 700 geothermal power projects, says a new report from Geothermal Energy Association.

By the end of 2013 the global geothermal market is expected to operate 12,000 MW of geothermal capacity on-line, the report, 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview, says.

The number of geothermal projects continues to grow as more and more countries recognize the potential economic and environmental benefits that geothermal power.

“There are so many projects moving forward that just a year or two ago were ideas on paper. This demonstrates how quickly the geothermal industry is growing internationally,” the report said.

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There are 11,766 MW of new capacity in early stages of development or under construction in 70 countries and territories around the world.

Developers are exploring 27 GW (Gigawatts) of geothermal resource globally that could potentially develop into power plants over the next decade. Some of the first demonstration Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) projects provided electricity to grids in Australia and the United States.

Counties such as Uganda, France, Tanzania, Chile, and Rwanda have geothermal projects under construction or in the latter stages of development and will have their first operational geothermal power plants within the next few years.

The report specifically analyzes the potential of countries like Kenya, Indonesia, Costa Rica and Japan.

Kenya is one of the fastest growing geothermal markets in the world. Right now 296 MW of the over ~1,000 MW of geothermal under development in Kenya are physically under construction. Kenya has the potential to lead the world in geothermal infrastructure and become a center of geothermal technology on the African continent.

Despite the massive potential for geothermal power in Indonesia, the country still struggles with regulatory issues obstructing geothermal development. Indonesia has almost 4,100 MW in the pipeline for development and 860 MW physically under construction. Indonesia ranks second for developing projects with 57 projects in some phase of development. If all the plants are finished by their publicly announced completion dates, Indonesia could reach almost 2 GW of installed capacity by 2018.

Most of Costa Rica’s geothermal resources rest in national parks, leaving substantial regulatory barriers to its development, the report said.  Despite the location of Costa Rican’s geothermal resource the government plans to introduce legislation that would open the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste for geothermal project development, a controversial proposal to environmentalists.

Following the nuclear disaster in 2012, Japan focuses on clean and disaster-free alternatives to nuclear energy and is deregulating many previous burdensome barriers to geothermal development. Officials are looking to shorten lead time for development, a significant step to accelerated geothermal development.

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