In a recent interview at the GeoPower conference in Istanbul, Turkey, Anthony Hinde, Marketing and Sales Director of Exergy answered a series of questions related to the activities of the company.
Which markets are of greatest interest to EXERGY, what drives this and how do they each present different challenges?
EXERGY has a global outreach and concentrates on specific geographical areas where geothermal markets are either developed, or have potential in the near future. As such we currently concentrating on Turkey, South America, Africa and the Far East.
In particular, Turkey has become one of the world’s most important geothermal markets in recent years, combining high electricity costs and a favorable and stable regulatory framework in place. Turkey represents a significant market for EXERGY where EXERGY has a geothermal binary capacity portfolio in the country of 177.2 MWe.
What does EXERGY view as the greatest challenge to geothermal power producers and how can these be successfully overcome?
Worldwide, we have understood in the past that there has been significant decline in resources mainly due to mismanagement. This has taken several forms such as lack of reinjection of condensate, or incorrect reinjection of condensate. Turkish firms are generally on the right path here, by utilising binary systems which allow for 100% reinjection, they are already taking a great step forward in good resource management. However there is still potential for future resource deterioration due to incorrect reinjection and time will see how this potential problem develops.
How does EXERGY expect technological innovation to dictate and shape geothermal power development globally in the next decade?
Geothermal exploitation technology is constantly evolving and will continue to do so into the future. The movement worldwide from just flash systems to combined cycle and binary systems will greatly improve the efficiency of resource utilization which will help people produce more from less.
I see the specific costs of installation and operations becoming more affordable as efficiencies improve, which has already been the case with the EXERGY radial outflow technology, which has enabled EXERGY to offer higher specific outputs based on constant levels brine consumption. Technological developments also need the support of governments to evolve at a fast pace. If governments help stimulate the industry via incentives and less red tape, it will be a benefit for all. But none of this will happen without greater education and collaboration at a government level.
What is the greatest risk for geothermal power developers in your opinion and to what extent do these risks vary by region?
Geothermal development is still a high risk business, and in some regions this is far more of a factor than in Turkey. The stable business environment of Turkey combined with the developed industry has made Turkey the example for the rest of the world in geothermal development. However, with governments looking to gain high prices for concessions, as well as higher drilling prices in other regions, and numerous different government departments being required to cooperate to make a project a success, it is not uncommon for projects to be indefinitely delayed and quickly unprofitable. It is essential that developers interested in geothermal enter the market with the eyes fully open to the risks involved, and an understanding of the regulatory frame work within the market. However once they have those challenges overcome, the power plant side of the development of the project has never been more competitive or efficient.
Source: GeoPower/ GreenPower Conferences (pdf)