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Geothermal development accelerating? GEA says yes

The chart below was taken from the Update on World Geothermal Development issued by the GEA today.

Geothermal Global Capacity Graph

Yesterday the Geothermal Energy Association released the following press release:

For Immediate Release For Information Contact:
April 30, 2007 Karl Gawell 202-454-5264

New Report Shows Geothermal Growth Accelerating Worldwide

Washington DC — The US Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) today released a report assessing the progress in worldwide geothermal development since 2005. The report, titled, Update on World Geothermal Development, concludes, geothermal development is accelerating.

According to the assessment, the number of countries producing power from geothermal resources could increase 120%, from 21 countries in 2000 to as many as 46 countries in 2010. Total geothermal capacity online could increase over 55%, from 8661 MW in 2000 to 13,500 MW or more in 2010. The report states, ìThe trends in both the number of new countries developing geothermal energy and the total of new megawatts of power capacity under development reverse slowdowns in international markets seen in the late 1990s, and approximate trends seen in the more robust 1980s.î

Reports examining the international status of geothermal development were published by the GEA and the International Geothermal Association (IGA) in 2005. While additional detailed reports are expected to be prepared for the next World Geothermal Congress (WGC), this interim report examines the progress in international geothermal power development since 2005, GEA explains. The new Interim Report notes projects under development, major political and/or policy initiative related to development, and plans announced by either governments or in-country parties.

The report notes that ìin numerous casesÖthe success of development in a country is linked to government policies and initiatives. The extent of future geothermal project development depends more upon adequate funding and sustained policy support than
geologic factors.

The report is available on-line at:, or you can email: and request a copy.

Highlights of the report:

• The World Bank is expected to approve funding for the ARGeo project in November –a Risk Mitigation Fund of $17.75M USD. This fund is key to the development of potentially thousands of megawatts of new geothermal power in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

• Australia is aggressively pursuing Hot Dry Rock (HDR) geothermal technology with currently five different projects underway.

• Germany is looking at over 100 sites of geothermal potential, and is looking to have as much as 200 MW online in several years.

• Iceland has doubled its geothermal power capacity since 2005 to meet growing industrial and commercial demand, particularly businesses looking for green energy and stable prices.

• Indonesiaís aggressive geothermal program is regaining steam, and with several new developments now underway is expected to achieve 2000 MW of capacity online by 2010.

• The United States continues to be the world leader in online capacity of geothermal energy and the generation of electric power from geothermal energy. A new wave of geothermal development is underway, propelled by Congress enacting in 2005 a new federal tax incentives (the production tax credit) for geothermal energy. US geothermal power capacity is expected to nearly double in the next few years.

• Armenia, Canada, Chile, Djibouti, Dominica, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran, Korea, Nevis, Rwanda, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, St. Lucia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen are all countries now looking at geothermal development that could be producing geothermal power for the first time in the coming years.

Countries Generating Geothermal Power in 2000 (21)

Australia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France (Guadeloupe), Guatemala, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Portugal (Azores), Russia, Thailand, Turkey, United States

Countries Adding Power Generation by 2005 (3 for a total of 24)

Austria, Germany, Papua New Guinea

Potential New Countries by 2010 — Based Upon 2007 Interim Survey (22 for potential total of 46)

Armenia, Canada, Chile, Djibouti, Dominica, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran, Korea, Nevis, Rwanda, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, St. Lucia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen

This is encouraging to see that geothermal resources are being developed globally, though we wish we’d see more momentum on this renewable in the US. With the lack of funding on the R&D side, it’s unlikely large-scale HDR projects will be undertaken in the US anytime in the near future limiting projects to hydrothermal systems in the foreseeable future.

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