Geothermal May Produce 3.5 Percent of Power With Aid, IEA Says

Geothermal energy’s share of global capacity may increase more than 10-fold by 2050 if governments implement incentives according to the International Energy Agency.

Power generated from underground heat sources may account for as much as 3.5 percent of worldwide electricity within four decades, up from 0.3 percent now, the Paris based agency said today in a report on its website.

Streamlined permitting procedures and pricing incentives may result in more than 200 gigawatts of installed geothermal capacity by then, according to the IEA’s technology road map.

Taking advantage of underground heat resources that are are widely available will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. High costs have hampered development of power geothermal power plants.

The IEA suggested that governments provide resources for at least 50 pilot projects that generate electricity from dry rock, which comprise most of the world’s usable subterranean heat. Most existing geothermal projects are in areas with naturally occurring water or steam, the IEA said.

Capital costs for geothermal projects varied from $2,000 a kilowatt to $5,900 in 2008, depending on the technology, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephan Nielsen in Sao Paulo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Wade at

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