Geothermal Energy Outlook 2015

Joanna Schroeder

According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the U.S. and global geothermal markets are expected to grow in 2015. The U.S. market may grow slowly while state and federal policies are adjusted, but with continued pressure to address climate change and a growing recognition of the important values of geothermal power to grid reliability, that is expected to improve. However, global markets are expected to see stronger growth with continued expansion while U.S. is expected to make forward progress.

The forecast for geothermal energy growth comes on the heels of a strong 2014. GEA reports that the world market reached upwards of 12.7 GW of operational geothermal power in 24 countries, reflecting about 700 MW of combined added growth. By Geothermal Energy Plantcomparison, the global industry added about 600 MW in 2013. As of the end of 2014, there are also 11.7 GW of capacity additions in development and 1.8 GW of power under construction in 80 countries.

The World Bank is aiding in global growth through its focus on early risk mitigation. In tandem to this work, governments continue to develop and adopt policies to meet electricity demand. GEA forecasts the forward-moving trajectory will continue for at least another decade and globally, geothermal energy production should reach at least 20 GW by 2024.

2014 highlights include:

  • This year emerging economies in East Africa, Central America, and the South Pacific experienced the fastest growth, and each of these regions had some notable developments:
  • In the East Africa region, a new 280-MW addition at the Olkaria field in Kenya now has the world’s largest flash plant, and Kenya added 300 MW of capacity overall. In Ethiopia, a partnership between the government and the World Bank expects to expand electricity access where it is most needed by adding four million more people to the grid in the next five years. Geothermal would be the second largest source of power supply in East Africa by 2040.
  • In Central America, Costa Rica received a $550 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency toward planned capacity of three geothermal plants each totaling 55 MW. El Salvador reached the milestone of producing 25% of its electricity from geothermal energy with an aim to achieve 40% in the near future.
  • In the South Pacific, Indonesia is leading in developing capacity and could surpass the U.S in installed capacity in the future. Financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency with equipment from Ormat, construction began in Indonesia on what will be the largest geothermal plant ever built, the 330MW Sarulla project. In the Philippines, the Energy department announced plans to increase installed capacity of geothermal power to 3.3 GW by 2030.

The 2015 geothermal outlook will be discussed in more detail, including the roles global companies and governments will play during the State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing taking place Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Washington, DC.



Electricity, Geothermal, International