World Bank and geothermal development in Europe and Central Asia

Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 25 Feb 2009

Armenia, getting a grant of US$1.5 million for its geothermal development. This technical assistance grant is the second phase in a series of envisaged projects in ECA with the amount of US$25 million over the next 8 years of the World Bank.

As reported before on the World Bank’s support on geothermal development in Armenia, the World Bank has approved a grant of US$ 1.5 million out of its Global Environment grant program. And as the World Bank’s Vice President for Europe Central Asia (ECA) describes it, this is “part of the Regional Geothermal Energy Development Program (GeoFund).

This technical assistance grant is the second phase in a series of envisaged projects in ECA with the amount of US$25 million over the next 8 years. The GeoFund is the first region-wide program of its kind and is implemented jointly with International Finance Corporation (IFC). (see also news on the GeoFund workshop in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month)

The objective of the GeoFund is to systematically promote the use of geothermal energy in the ECA region by removing existing barriers. This will lead to diversification in energy use and increase the demand for similar projects. The Project will assess the feasibility of exploratory drilling in Armenia in sites with the highest geothermal potential.

“We are pleased to receive GeoFund support especially given the lack of adequate site investigation works, and limited interest of private sector in development of geothermal energy resources in Armenia,” said Ani Balabanyan, the Task Team Leader of the Project. “This project will fill in this gap and will serve as a model for similar field investigation projects.”

The Project will provide technical assistance to conduct comprehensive geothermal field investigation works for Gridzor and Karkar sites (in Gegharkunik and Sjunik regions respectively) to be carried out in two phases. The second phase will be carried out only if the results are positive to justify additional studies at the first phase. Phase I will include geological field works, a sounding study, which will end up with interpretation and supervision of the implementation of the field works and the study.

The GEF unites 178 countries in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing US$8.3 billion in grants and leveraging US$33.7 billion in co-financing for over 2,200 projects in over 165 countries.”

Source: Public Radio of Armenia