International Community Embraces Geothermal Energy

A 2007 interim report from the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) estimates that total geothermal capacity online could increase more than 55 percent worldwide, from 8661 megawatts (MW) in 2000 to 13,500 MW or more in 2010.

According to the assessment, prepared by Karl Gawell and Griffin Greenberg, the number of countries producing power from geothermal resources could increase 120 percent, from 21 countries in 2000 to as many as 46 countries in 2010. In the U.S. alone, geothermal power capacity is expected to nearly double in the next few years. The report also highlights projects under development, major political and/or policy initiatives related to development, and plans announced by either governments or in-country parties. Report Findings While GEA reported in 2005 that new or additional geothermal power development was underway in some 15 countries, there has been considerable expansion in the number of countries considering or proceeding with new geothermal power projects. This interim report identifies 40 such countries. Similarly, developments noted in this report would result in a dramatic expansion in the number of countries producing geothermal power. In 2000, only 21 countries were producing geothermal power. By 2005, there was a slight increase with 24 countries reporting geothermal power production. But, if all of the 22 new countries looking into geothermal energy today succeed by 2010, there could be over 46 countries producing geothermal power. In 2000 there was 8661 MW of geothermal power capacity on-line. By 2005 there was a modest increase to 8,932 MW of installed power capacity generating 56,951 GWh per year of green power, but there was considerable new development underway. At that time the International Geothermal Association (IGA) projected that 10,700 MW would be online by 2010, and in 2005 GEA reported that this total could reach 13,500 MW by 2010 — representing a 50% growth in geothermal power since 2000.

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