According to Pike Research there are about 450 geothermal projects
being developed around the world with a total estimated capacity
of 18 GW. Sixty-four countries have geothermal projects scheduled
for development, compared with just about thirty several years
An estimated 90% of the projects are conventional geothermal, which uses steam or hot water close to ground level, rather than deep within the Earth. Extensive drilling can be tricky and require an expertise that is not as abundant, which makes geothermal development in economically challenged areas more difficult. Approaches like enhanced geothermal systems are cutting-edge and still being tested.(Only about 250 MW of the 18GW is enhanced geothermal though, and these projects are located in Iceland and Italy.)
Indonesia, Chile and Kenya are international sites where much of the geothermal development activity is taking place. Last year, in the US just about 175 MW of geothermal was installed, but currently over 5,000 MW is in development. Just over half of that total is being developed in California. Arizona, Washington, North Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Oregon are some of the others.
Geothermal plant construction typically requires more time than does other alternative energy plants such as wind or solar, so it is necessary for some changes to take place in order to spur growth, “Governments need to cut the time it takes to manage leasing and permitting—it should not take seven or more years to complete a project. Industry needs consistent and sustained research support to develop new technology, reduce risk and spur technological innovation. State renewable standards need to recognize the full benefits of geothermal power to their power system reliability and the environment,” said Karl Gawell, executive director the Geothermal Energy Association. (Source: Sustainablebusiness.com)
Image Credit: Mike Gonzalez (TheCoffee)
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