Geothermal energy reaches 11,224 MW

“It is encouraging to see such widespread geothermal growth, as this baseload energy source has the potential to replace coal and other non-renewable power sources in countries around the world,” said Geothermal Energy Association executive director Karl Gawell.

Mr. Gawell heads a trade association of U.S. companies supporting the expanded use and development of geothermal resources worldwide. They recently released an overview report of the global geothermal power market.

In general, the report found that growth seen in the geothermal market for the 2011-2012 period can be attributed to a number of factors which include economic growth; the electrification of low-income and rural communities; increasing energy security concerns: and favorable national policies.

The report also noted that, though the U.S. remains the world leader, unpredictable government policy has slowed growth, with federal tax credits for geothermal set to expire at the end of 2013.

“The way to ensure constant and steady industry growth domestically is for Washington to extend renewable energy tax incentives and promote policies consistent with industry needs for sustained growth and technology advancement,” Mr. Gawell said.

Outside the U.S., the report cited countries such as Turkey, Kenya and Indonesia as showing promise for significant geothermal expansion in the future.

Turkey was cited as the “hottest” European market for geothermal and the seventh most promising country in the world with 2,000 MW or 2 gigawatts of geothermal potential.

The Geothermal Energy Association is holding its International Geothermal Energy Showcase 2012, the fourth such event, which gathers players in the geothermal industry to discuss international projects, policies and developments in the sector.