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Beyond electricity – Geothermal energy development picking up

IGA beyond electricity (source: IGA)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 21 Feb 2019

At a recent geothermal congress in Germany, IGA shared a status report on global geothermal energy development and an outlook into the future, estimating up to 4,000 MW of geothermal power generation capacity to be added in the next five years.

The International Geothermal Association (IGA) – as the international representation of the global geothermal energy industry – continues its efforts of promoting geothermal energy and its activities to foster geothermal development worldwide.

The past few weeks have been particularly busy. Following the move of the IGA Secretariat and its operations to Bonn, IGA attended the annual General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in January 2019. There IGA highlighted the important role geothermal energy can play with regards to power generation, but even more importantly in the supply of a favourable and sustainable energy solution for heating and cooling, as well in the agri-food sector.

At the annual GeoTHERM expo & congress that concluded last week in Offenburg, Germany, the International Geothermal Association (IGA) shared an update on its operations and activities during a side event organised jointly by the International Energy Agency Geothermal Implementing Agreement and IGA. The presentation highlighted IGA’s recent activities on the introduction, promotion and training on the UNFC Geothermal Resource Specifications, including workshops held in Indonesia, St Lucia in the Caribbean and Ethiopia, as well as general activities aimed to foster geothermal development worldwide.

At the GeoTHERM congress, IGA’s President Alexander Richter gave a keynote presentation sharing a status report on geothermal development today and an outlook into the future.

Today, geothermal power is generated in 27 countries with a total installed geothermal power generation capacity of 14,600 MW at year-end 2018.  With ongoing development and development ambitions the number of countries that could be producing geothermal power could increase to 82 countries.

There currently is ongoing and planned development of about 15,000 MW in power generation capacity, which would more than double the current installed capacity. Estimating development over the next 5 year period, IGA expects development of around 4,100 MW in capacity, picking up pace compared to the 4,341 MW added in the time period of 2008 to 2018. Key growth markets are Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

It is clear that support mechanisms introduced by multilaterals, such as the World Bank, and development banks have been of help for projects getting over the big hurdles in the early stages of geothermal development, how sustainable that support is for further development will have to be seen.

So the timing of IGA’s World Geothermal Congress 2020 taking place from 27 April to 1 May 2020 in Reykjavik, Iceland, is perfect to engage the global geothermal energy community to discuss challenges and opportunities, while also highlighting what has been achieved.

To help set the global agenda, the IGA has opened the Expression of Interest (EoI) for hosting the World Geothermal Congress in 2023. More information can be found on our website where the EoI can be downloaded. Deadline for submitting the EoI is April 30, 2019.

IGA now also seeks nominations for its Board positions. Affiliated and individual members are kindly invited to forward their nominations for Board term 2020- 2023. The deadline for receiving nominated candidates is April 16, 2019.

Source: IGA

Disclaimer: The author is President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA)