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Increasing international attention to geothermal energy and what it has to offer

Meeting of the Global Geothermal Alliance, IRENA Assembly, Jan. 2020 (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Alexander Richter 14 Jan 2020

During the IRENA General Assembly, a meeting by the Global Geothermal Alliance saw great international interest with many new countries excited to see what geothermal has to offer.

During the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that the author attended a meeting by the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) on behalf of the International Geothermal Association (IGA).

This is the third time the author attended a GGA meeting during the assembly and it is stunning to see the transformation.

From an initially group of a few countries, it is now a strong alliance with industrial partners, countries, associations, clusters and organisations from all over the world all united in the view that geothermal energy has a lot to offer in the drive of the global energy transitions.

In his speech at the beginning Gurbuz Gonul, Director, Country Support and Partnerships at IRENA shared the accomplishments of the alliance in the global context and why the association was set up. H.E. Olafur Ragnar Grímsson, the former President of Iceland, again passionately made the case for geothermal energy, particular in its offer to the heat transition and the role geothermal plays internationally, among others so strongly in China.

Luca Angelino, Programme Officer at IRENA, who is pushing most if not all the initiatives of the Global Geothermal Alliance shared details about the work done by the alliance over the past year.

The author, in his role as President of the IGA, shared details about the work done in collaboration with IRENA and the World Bank and its ESMAP program on the introduction and implementation of the UNFC specifications for geothermal resources. The work, lead by Dr. Marit Brommer, Executive Director of the IGA, was holding three workshops to introduce, train and work with geothermal resource specifications under UNFC in Indonesia, the Caribbean and Ethiopia. Initially planned to concretely apply the specifications in quantifying resources, the projects required specific capacity building efforts. This will be the next emphasis on further implementation of these efforts.

It was fantastic to see the overall support by the partners to the alliance and the presence on site. From the French geothermal cluster, there was a representation from Canada, Serbia, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the various geothermal countries, such as Kenya, Indonesia, Colombia, Iceland, El Salvador, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, Mexico, France, Italy, Turkey and more were represented.

All were united in their view that while there remains a lot of work to be done, geothermal is there for the future and will play an important part in the much needed energy transition going forward.

The meeting also concluded that the upcoming World Geothermal Congress 2020 in Reykjavik, Iceland will be an important event for the global geothermal community and those interested in geothermal development. Participants will be able to see and experience the different opportunities for geothermal energy utilisation and this uniquely all in a maximum one-hour radius from the venue for the event in Reykjavik. To not miss the event, make sure to register timely at https://www.wgc2020.com.

I personally want to thank our partners at IRENA, Gurbuz Gonul, Luca Angelino and Abdulmalik Oricha Ali and the staff, as well as our friends at ESMAP of the World Bank … and of course the team of IGA’s former Resources and Reserves Committee. Details about their work on the UNFC specifications can be read here.  A big thanks naturally also to the Executive Director of IGA, Dr. Marit Brommer, who has done a tremendous job in the work with our partners on this project.

The Author is President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA) and editor of ThinkGeoEnergy.