Geothermal power growing worldwide


The international market for geothermal power is showing continued strong growth with 70 countries moving forward with nearly 700 geothermal projects, according to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).

Credit: Geothermal Energy Association

"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," said Ben Matek, author of GEA's 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview.

In fact, by the end of 2013, the global geothermal market is expected to have 12,000 MW of geothermal capacity online. Currently, there is 11,766 MW of new capacity in the early stages of development or under construction around the world. Developers are actively engaged with and exploring an additional 27 GW of geothermal resources globally that could develop into power plants over the next decade.

Kenya, for example, is one of the fastest growing geothermal markets in the world, according to GEA. Currently, 296 MW of the more than 1,000 MW of geothermal under development in Kenya are physically under construction. If all projects are completed on time Kenya will lead the world with substantial additions to their geothermal infrastructure over the next decade and become a center of geothermal technology on the African continent, GEA predicts.

Despite regulatory issues obstructing geothermal development Indonesia has almost 4,100 MW in the pipeline for development and 860 MW physically under construction, ranking it second for developing projects with 57 projects in some phase of development, according to GEA.

Since the 2012 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Japan is looking for safe, clean alternatives to nuclear energy and are deregulating many previous barriers to geothermal development, according to GEA. Officials are looking to shorten lead time for development, a significant step to accelerated geothermal development.

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