Geothermal Capacity Could More than Double by 2020

Increasing global investment in geothermal power could result in a 134% increase in total geothermal capacity between 2010 and 2020, according to a report released on March 7 by Pike Research.

Under a high-growth scenario, the amount could grow from 10.7 gigawatts (GW) to 25.1 GW in a decade, according to Pike Research estimates. Under a more conservative business-as-usual forecast scenario from the clean tech firm, geothermal power capacity would increase 34% to 14.3 GW by 2020. Among the reasons cited are improved access to resource data, more efficient drilling, and better financing.

The report noted that current installed capacity of 10.7 GW is spread across 26 countries with a combined output of approximately 67 terawatt hours of electricity.

Currently, the United States is the global geothermal leader with 3.1 GW of installed capacity, and seven countries represent 88% of the world market. While conventional geothermal resources account for nearly all online capacity today, Pike Resource said that enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) and co-produced wells both offer opportunities for expansion outside of rift zones or volcanically active regions throughout the world.

Pike Research’s high-growth forecast scenario assumes a number of factors including a continued increase and persistent volatility in the price of oil, tightening carbon regulations, and improved access to capital.

This article was first published in the U.S. Department of Energy’s EERE Network News and was reprinted with permission.


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