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Geothermal energy widens its reach to 52 million people: report.

Geothermal power is widening its reach fast with over 10,000 MW already installed and reaching more than 52 million people now, said a report by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) on Friday.

Nearly 24 countries increased power online by 20 percent in the last five years and 94 countries are currently developing geothermal energy, the report said.

Seventy nations currently have projects underway, a 52% increase from the last report that was compiled by GEA in 2007.  Nearly 24 countries in Europe and 11 countries in Africa account for most of the projects.

"The colossal growth of the international market is only a small fraction of the geothermal power potential we could be utilizing," said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell.

In 1999 GEA identified 39 nations that could provide 100 percent of their energy needs from geothermal, fully powering their countries but only nine of them had geothermal power online.<br />"The development potential here is very obviously tremendous. It's as if we discovered a huge deposit of oil underneath our feet, enough to put gas in our cars forever, and didn't use it; except this is a totally clean, renewable, and constant energy source," Gawell said.

Here are some highlights from the report:

-- The US leads in geothermal energy with 3,086 MW capacity from 77 plants.

-- The Philippines, the second highest producer of geothermal power in the world, produces 1,904 MW, which is 18% of the country's electricity generation.

-- Germany has 150 geothermal power plant projects and is produce 280 MW by 2020 according to the European Commission.

-- Geothermal power plants provide 26 percent of the electricity in El Salvador.

-- Kenya plans to produce 490 MW by 2012 and about 4,000 MW within 20 years.

-- Turkey aims to produce 550 MW by 2013.

-- Indonesia's National Energy Blueprint aims to produce 9,500 MW, or 800% increase.

-- Iceland gets 25 percent of its electricity and 90 percent of its heating from geothermal resources.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:May 21, 2010
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