International Energy Agency Report Encourages Policy to Support Geothermal Proliferation
In its continuing effort to provide detailed information and recommendations to support renewable energy development, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its latest "technology road map." In this report the IEA shows how to grow global production of geothermal heat and electricity ten fold by 2050.
If countries follow its recommendations the IEA believes that "geothermal energy can account for 3.5% of annual global electricity production and 3.9% of energy for heat by 2050." Central to achieving these results is strong policy that supports the development of untapped geothermal resources.
Traditionally geothermal technologies have focused on tapping underground sources with naturally occurring water or steam. However, according to the IEA, the majority of geothermal energy is found in rock that is dry. With little technology being developed to extract energy from this "hot rock," significant research and development and government support will be needed to exploit this abundant source of geothermal energy.
The IEA report calls for governments to both build incentives, including feed-in tariffs, to encourage the development of geothermal technologies that are not yet commercially viable and also make the permitting process for new geothermal power plants easier.. The report also strongly recommends that a public accessible global database be established so that geothermal resources can be exploited worldwide.
This report comes a week after the United States Department of Energy injected US$70 million into the advancement of geothermal energy technology and awarded Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) a conditional loan guarantee of US$350 million to develop geothermal energy projects that will combine to generate 121 MW of electricity.
Speaking about the findings and recommendations of this latest report and the proliferation of geothermal energy development, IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said, “This would be an important contribution to global efforts of reducing carbon emissions, using a sustainable and reliable source of energy that is available all over the world, and does not fluctuate with the weather or season."
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