Recent UNEP report highlights geothermal growth

Alexander Richter 4 Jun 2009

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) provides details on green energy investment trends worldwide in its new "Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009" Report, including some highlights on geothermal.

In a recent report the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) provides details on green energy investment trends worldwide.

It talks about that “US$ 155 billion was invested in 2008 in clean energy companies and projects worldwide, not including large hydro.

The 2008 investment is more than a four-fold increase since 2004 according to Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009, prepared for the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative by global information provider New Energy Finance.

Extremely difficult financial market conditions prevailed during 2008 as a result of the global economic crisis.

Nevertheless investment in clean energy topped 2007’s record investments by 5% in large part as a result of China, Brazil and other emerging economies.

Of the $155 billion, $105 billion was spent directly developing 40 GW of power generating capacity from wind, solar, small-hydro, biomass and geothermal sources.

A further $35 billion was spent on developing 25 GW of large hydropower, according to the report.

This $140 billion investment in 65 GW of low carbon electricity generation compares with the estimated $250 billion spent globally in 2008 constructing 157GW of new power generating capacity from all sources.

It means that renewables currently account for the majority of investment and over 40% of actual power generation capacity additions last year.”

Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director – who already has praised geothermal energy particularly in Africa – talked about the economic crisis having had its toll on investments in clean energy, with drops in the U.S. and stand-still in Europe. But – he continues – there are highlights including “a rise in geothermal energy may be getting underway in countries from Australia to Japan and Kenya”.

The report then goes into the different renewable energy technologies and here are some parts on Geothermal.

“Geothermal was the highest growth sector for investment in 2008, with investment up 149% and 1.3 GW of new capacity installed. The competitive cost of electricity from geothermal sources and long output lifetimes have made this an attractive investment despite the high initial capital cost.”

Geographically the report highlights the first privately financed geothermal power plant in Kenya, the reawakening of geothermal development in Japan (with plans for a new 60 MW plant announced in January 2009), the renewable energy fund in Australia that supports drilling efforts. (7% of the country’s baseload is expected to come from geothermal by 2030), and the efforts in South America namely in Chile and Argentina.

The report can be downloaded from here (UNEP website, publication repository, registration required).

Source: Eurekalert