Government Support Driving Setup of Geothermal Power Plants

To harness the potential of geothermal energy for generating electricity, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is working in coordination with the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA). GGA is a global platform that was created at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015. GGA aspires to increase the installed capacity of geothermal power generation by five times and double the geothermal heating capacity by 2030. It also serves as a platform for co-operation, dialogue, and coordinated action between policymakers and geothermal industry stakeholders globally.

Geothermal energy is more advantageous than bioenergy, wind, and hydropower, as this form of energy uses less land, generates less atmospheric pollution, is easily available, and emits zero liquid pollution on the re-injection of the effluent fluid. Geothermal power plants create energy from the heat energy stored under the crust of the earth. These plants utilize the steam generated from the hot water reservoirs below the surface of the earth to rotate the turbines that generate electricity.

The advantages attached to geothermal power have increased its popularity in the countries of North America, Asia, and Europe. Several countries in these regions are working toward optimizing renewable sources of energy to curtail their oil imports, by increasing their focus on geothermal energy. Additionally, the growing expenditure in geothermal sector development in countries such as Germany, China, Ethiopia, France, Portugal, and Australia is adding to the popularity of this concept.

To propel the investments, governments across the globe are offering tax benefits and other kinds of financial support for setting up geothermal power plants. The development of these plants is cost-effective, as they are not impacted by weather variations. Moreover, geothermal energy power plants are characterized by a high capacity and low outage rate. Due to the high capacity of these plants, the sector attracts huge investments from numerous government and private organizations.

Since the geothermal energy sector is still unexplored, several geophysicists, geologists, geochemists, and various domain experts are working toward exploring and distributing geothermal power. As the sector is still in its nascent form, the requirement for several domain experts will increase in the coming years. Additionally, the requirement for a workforce with expertise in electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering will grow due to the increasing installation of geothermal power plants. Similarly, the power plants will need a large number of people for maintaining, operating, and designing them, thus leading to the rising employment opportunities.

Globally, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) geothermal power market installed the largest capacity of geothermal power plants in 2015 to meet the growing demand for energy in the region. Three of the world’s largest geothermal power producers — the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Zealand — are in APAC. Additionally, P&S Intelligence projects that the region will lead the industry in the foreseeable future due to the increasing focus of the government on exploring the potential of geothermal energy, reducing the dependence on fossil fuels, and meeting the increasing demand for energy, by optimizing non-conventional sources.

Thus, the growing focus on renewable sources of energy and increasing support from governments and international organizations will lead to the widespread adoption of geothermal energy worldwide.

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