International Business Times
Geothermal power — the generation of steam energy produced by heat emanating from molten core — will sharply increase in production and usage over the next five years.
Rystad Energy, an energy research firm based in Oslo, Norway, said that the world’s installed geothermal capacity — the maximum output of power that can be produced under ideal conditions — will surge to 24 gigawatts, or GW, by 2025 from 16 GW at the end of 2020.
Currently, installed geothermal capacity is led by the U.S. (with 4 GW), followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey and Italy.
This expansion of geothermal systems will attract total investments of $25 billion in the next five years, Rystad Energy estimated, on top of the $40 billion invested in new geothermal energy developments in the 2010s.
In addition, the number of new geothermal wells drilled around the world will jump from 223 in 2019 to 380 in 2025.
“Many of these [geothermal] projects are still on the drawing board and will have to compete with other renewable sources such as wind and solar,” said Audun Martinsen, Rystad Energy’s head of energy service research. “However, contrary to wind and solar, the surface footprint of a geothermal plant has the advantage of being much lower in terms of square kilometers per [megawatt] of produced electricity.”
For example, Germany already has 37 operational geothermal power plants, mostly in the province of Bavaria. But Germany plans to construct another 16 plants over the next few years, requiring the drilling of 20 additional wells per year.
There are at present 3,200 active geothermal wells around the world.
The two largest geothermal plant owners in the world are Calpine Corp. of Houston and Ormat Technologies of Reno, Nevada. Both have an installed capacity of around 1,200 megawatts of electric power.