With Mexico another geothermal country joins the International Energy Agency

IEA Website snapshot, February 2018
Alexander Richter 23 Feb 2018

With Mexico, another geothermal country is joining the International Energy Agency. Now, of the 30 member countries of the International Energy Agency, 26 are in one way or another working on geothermal development for either power or heat generation. This could create a more important role for IEA on supporting geothermal development.

Mexico has become the 30th member country of the International Energy Agency, as reported by  This is the first Latin American member as part of an open-doors policy aimed at strengthening the ties between the IEA and emerging economies, so the official line.

The agency praised the world’s 12th largest producer of crude oil for the speed with which it covered the requirements for joining. These include crude oil and/or products reserves equal to 90 days of net imports as of the previous year that could be used quickly in case of a global supply disruption, and a program seeking to restrain demand for oil by up to 10 percent.

The IEA was set up in 1974 by Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the United States.

Mexico, however, though a large oil producer, has been having issues with expanding or even maintaining production. Last year, the average daily stood at 1.948 million bpd, down from 2.154 million bpd a year earlier and from 2.548 million bpd in 2012.

The country has been struggling with underinvestment in the energy sector due to Pemex’s monopoly position, but since 2013, when the Enrique Pena-Nieto government passed a far-reaching energy reform, there has been consistent efforts to turn things around by inviting international oil and gas companies to take part in the development of Mexico’s substantial oil reserves.

It is actually sad that the announcement seems to focus on oil production rather than adding another geothermal country to its membership.

The following member countries of the International Energy Agency are actually with geothermal resources and have or are looking at developing those. IEA maintains some work on geothermal energy through its Geothermal Implementing Agreement, further details here. The program provides a framework for international cooperation in geothermal research and development. It focuses on both power generation and direct-heat applications. This specific work on geothermal only has 16 members, some of them groups/ corporations.

But there could be done more and this more visible. A good effort now is the IEA-IGA joint Asia Geothermal Workshop to be held February 28, 2018 in Offenburg/ Germany.

Geothermal countries part of IEA:


Austria (geothermal heating being explored), Belgium (now exploring a geothermal heating project),  Czech Republic (could be doing more but has resources for heating), Denmark (actively pursuing geothermal heating projects), France (geothermal district heating around Paris, and various other projects in the Alsace and other regions), Germany (driven by Feed-in-tariffs, the country has developed small scale geothermal power projects and heating projects), Greece (with geothermal resources, there seems an awakened interest in development), Hungary (first geothermal power plant went online, but most development in geothermal heating), Italy (the European power house in geothermal power through its plants in Tuscany), The Netherlands (with several geothermal heating projects operating and developing), Poland (newly awakened interest in geothermal heating projects), Portugal (geothermal plant on the Azores Islands), Slovak Republic (geothermal resources not utilised yet on greater scale), Spain (limited potential, but heating opportunities and power development opportunities on the Canaries Islands), Sweden (well some limited work starting, but mostly known for its heat pump applications), Switzerland (in efforts of moving away from Nuclear power, geothermal is seen as an option, but not pushed greatly yet), Turkey (with a magnificent and speedy development, Turkey has shown the world how to develop geothermal efficiently and fast), and the United Kingdom (with several geothermal heat projects being planned and one power project moving forward)

North America:

Canada (in its geothermal infancy, but promising), Mexico (geothermal power plants and development plans), the United States (still the largest geothermal country with regards to power generation but with a lack of development lagging way behind its potential).

Asia & Pacific:

Japan (geothermal resources are great, development lagging behind its potential), (South) Korea (one project currently on hold),  New Zealand (geothermal power house),

The other member countries not mentioned above: Australia, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway.

So out of the 30 member countries, 24 countries are working in one way or another on geothermal energy utilisation.