IRENA publishes policy guidebook on geothermal for agri-food
This guidebook published by IRENA seeks to help policy makers in accelerating geothermal development that will aid the growth of the agri-food sector.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has published a guidebook that aims to aid policy-makers in accelerating the deployment of geothermal energy in the agri-food sector. Entitled “Powering agri-food value chains with geothermal heat,” the guidebook can be freely accessed via this link.
For the past decades, the growth of geothermal energy has been primarily center on electricity generation. However, there is huge potential in other sectors for direct-use applications. One such example is in the agri-food industries.
Concurrent with the growing demand for energy, the demand for food and water is also expected to grow by up to 50% by mid-century. This will place more pressure on existing water, energy, and food systems. For the global energy transition to be a success, there has to be significant investment put into renewable energy technologies in agriculture and food (“agri-food”) systems.
According to IRENA studies, agricultural drying via geothermal heat could increase the availability of food by about 20% worldwide. Geothermal heated greenhouse agriculture and aquaculture can also significantly contribute in meeting global food needs.
Despite the perceived benefits, the lack of enabling frameworks and inadequate financing has hampered the growth of geothermal projects for the agri-food sector. This guidebook by IRENA seeks to provide recommendations for policy makers on measures that can address these challenges.