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Geothermal Grows at Record Rate Globally,
Outlook Positive for the Future Even for the U.S. Industry Reports

Washington, D.C. (February 2015) – A new report from the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) being released today to attendees of GEA’s State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing, the “2015 Annual U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production Report,” found the industry brought online the most capacity in any year of the past two decades. The Global geothermal market added 21 new utility scale power plants in 2014 with a total of about 620 MW of power capacity. The full report will be released to the public on GEA’s website on Thursday.

“These power plants will generate electricity for 30 to 50 years providing firm and flexible power, with little to no emissions, and deliver substantial economic benefit in the form of jobs and property taxes to the communities in which they operate,” said Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director.

Overall, the global geothermal industry grew at about 5% for the third year in a row reaching 12.8 GW. While only six countries saw projects completed, nearly 80 had projects in the pipeline giving a positive outlook for future growth. “If all countries reach their announced geothermal power goals the global industry could reach 27-30 GW by the early 2030s,” according to Ben Matek, GEA’s Industry Analyst & Research Projects Manager.

“Sustained growth is clearly the outlook, with existing power plants are using only about 6.5% of total global potential for geothermal electricity based on current geologic knowledge and technology,” Matek added. The World Bank estimates as many as 40 countries could meet a large proportion of their electricity demand through geothermal power. Some of the leading countries driving geothermal growth are the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya and Turkey.

“Emerging Economies are starting to realize the true values of geothermal power versus other energy sources,” Matek explained. “In addition to its flexible characteristics, of all the different varieties of renewable energy, geothermal power is one of the only true baseload power sources. In fact some estimates are that for every 1 MW of geothermal power to come online as a firming resource, another 3 to 5 MW of an intermittent power source such as wind and solar can be integrated into the grid,” he added.

Mike Long, a member of GEA’s Board of Directors and the Senior Project Manager & Strategic Consulting for POWER Burns and Roe, a U.S. company that does substantial geothermal work abroad, stated “The growth in key markets is just the beginning. East Africa, for example, has only recently realized its potential to be a global leader in geothermal power. These resources will be a key and strategic energy resource for the region as global climate initiatives become more important.”

Meanwhile, the report showed in the United States growth in geothermal power has stalled due a lack of demand for new power, meaning a lack of new power purchase agreements, and mixed messages from Washington D.C. latest tax incentive deliberations. In total the U.S. market had about 1,250 MW of geothermal power under development with about 500 MW in Phase 3 waiting for PPAs. “These are projects that are well along in their development and could be brought online in 17-33 months, or sooner with the appropriate power contracts, Matek explained.

Karl Gawell, the Executive Director of GEA explained “Geothermal power will be increasingly valued as states move forward to implement programs to increase renewable energy production. At the federal level, incentives need to be realistic and fair. Congress only extended the PTC tax credit for several weeks which did not help geothermal power given its longer development timeframes,” he stated.

About the Geothermal Energy Association:
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit Subscribe to GEA’s newsletter here. Follow GEA on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.
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