IEA outline tenfold geothermal increase

The world should see a tenfold increase in the production of heat and electricity from geothermal energy by 2050, say the International Energy Association. A ‘technology roadmap’, authored by the […]

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By Tom Gibson

The world should see a tenfold increase in the production of heat and electricity from geothermal energy by 2050, say the International Energy Association.

A ‘technology roadmap’, authored by the IEA, points to key policy actions that could lead to around 3.5% of annual global electricity production and 3.9% of energy for heat by 2050- a rise from current levels of 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

Nobuo Tanaka, IEA Executive Director, 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.”

The report is the latest in the IEA series of technology roadmaps, which aim to guide governments and industry on the actions needed to achieve the potential for a full range of clean energy technologies.

The IEA say it’s important to introduce incentive schemes to encourage the development of geothermal technologies that are not yet commercially viable. These include feed-in tariffs, which are payments to anyone who generates electricity for a grid using renewable sources of energy.

Another incentive should be focusing on overcoming permits, which although necessary for new geothermal plants, are seen as causing drawn-out delays.

Milou Beerepoot, the report’s author and a senior analyst at the IEA said: “Many countries that lack specific laws for geothermal resources currently process geothermal permits under mining laws that were conceived with objectives other than renewable energy production. Permitting procedures can consist of numerous steps, resulting in long lead times. The lack of regulation for geothermal energy is inhibiting the effective exploitation of the resource.”