As a means to increase geothermal energy globally, this week during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, (COP21) a coalition of 38 countries along with 20 development and industry partners have launched the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA). The nonprofit was organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and was founded with the goal of achieving a 500 percent increase in global installed geothermal capacity by 2030 as well as a 200 percent increase in geothermal heating.“Geothermal has proven its potential to be part of both the global climate and energy action agenda,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “While geothermal can provide baseload power at some of the lowest costs for any power source, it remains under-developed. The Global Geothermal Alliance will provide a platform for partners to share best practices, further reduce costs and get the most benefit out of this sustainable energy resource.”
IRENA cites that nearly 90 countries have potential for geothermal energy resource development; however, just 13 gigawatts of installed capacity exists worldwide. The agency says the main obstacle for geothermal power investment and development has been the high upfront costs of surface geophysical studies and drilling to explore for geothermal resources. However, the agency explains, once a geothermal project is in operation, it can generate electricity at a low cost. The GGA will aim to overcome these barriers by mitigating risks, promoting technological cooperation, coordinating regional and national initiatives and facilitating geothermal energy investments into energy markets.
The launch took place in the context of the Energy Action Day at COP21, co-organised by IRENA along with several members. In two years of preliminary consultations, IRENA says the GGA has gathered substantial support from governments, leading industry players, development partners, regional and national institutions and non-governmental organizations. The initiative was initiated in September 2014 at the Climate Summit organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.