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Global Geothermal Alliance – Harnessing the Power of Geothermal Energy

Well heads at Hellisheidi power plant of Reykjavik Energy (source: flickr/thinkgeonergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 10 Nov 2015

The Global Geothermal Alliance, lead by IRENA, is to help increase development of geothermal energy projects worldwide.

With the upcoming Climate Meetings in Paris, climate change and options to fight global warming are key topics these days.

Geothermal is thereby one of the renewable energy options, with its “potential to provide significant amounts of low-carbon, low-cost electricity, making a significant contribution to a more rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.”, as described in a recent article by UNFCC on the Global Geothermal Alliance.

“The Global Geothermal Alliance looks to play a major role in helping the international community achieve its goal of keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 2C degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

More and more countries with large geothermal potential are working to make it an essential part of their energy mix. However, geothermal energy development in developing countries is growing only at a rate of 3-4% per year and would need to grow at around 9 times the present rate in order to play a significant enough role in meeting the climate challenge.

This is due to risks related to geological drilling during the exploration phase, along with the associated costs. Financing the early stage of the process is limited to investors who understand and accept the possible associated risks.

Global Geothermal Alliance to Increase Geothermal 5-Fold by 2030

The Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) is designed to ramp up the share of geothermal energy in the global energy mix both in the areas of geothermal power generation and the direct use of geothermal heat.

The alliance goal is a five-fold growth in the installed capacity for geothermal power generation and at least two-fold growth for geothermal heating by 2030, compared to 2014 levels.

The initiative was first announced at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in New York in 2014 and is part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA).

It is led by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and brings together public, private, intergovernmental and non-governmental actors.

Key objectives of the Alliance are to:

  • identify and promote models for sharing and reducing risks associated with the geothermal business to be able to attract timely and efficient private investments and to integrate geothermal facilities into energy markets.
  • help create enabling regulatory and institutional conditions for timely and efficient private investments and efficient operation of geothermal resources and associated network infrastructure.
  • help streamline ongoing outreach and awareness-raising efforts in order to give geothermal energy greater visibility in the energy and climate debates at global, regional and national level.

Over 70 high level representatives of partners of the GGA from more than 20 countries met in Nairobi in June 2015 to discuss the concept of the Global Geothermal Alliance initiative.

The valuable feedback provided during the meeting and the presentations given can shape the way forward towards its formal launch at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.”

Source: UNFCCC