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GSR 2015

51 02 RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT ■■ GEOTHERMAL INDUSTRY The Global Geothermal Alliance was launched at the UN Climate Summit in 2014 to address the high upfront cost and investment risks that continue to be the main obstacles to more rapid deployment of geothermal energy. The Alliance also is charged with promoting innovative financing, risk mitigation, regulatory and institutional reform, and capacity building and technical assistance for geothermal systems development.49 To address some of these challenges in developing countries, the World Bank has mobilised funds, totalling USD 235 million by the end of 2014, for critical early-stage investment in geothermal energy projects. These resources are to support project development in several countries including Armenia, Chile, Djibouti, Dominica, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, St Lucia, and Turkey, with further expansion envisioned at 36 geothermal fields across 16 countries.50 Lack of funding and the exposure to project risk are challenges not limited to developing countries. In Europe, the industry is concerned that the geothermal power market is not developing as quickly as it should be due to general lack of awareness of the potential and value of geothermal energy, perceived low public financial support relative to other technologies, and the lack of a transnational risk insurance fund for Europe to spread the risk beyond national economies.51 In the United States, government research programmes are aimed at overcoming some of the technical and risk barriers associated with geothermal development. For example, the advancement of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) may reduce the risk of drilling what otherwise might be unproductive or sub-commercial wells.52 EGS enhances extraction of heat by fracturing subsurface rock for greater permeability, allowing production similar to naturally occurring conventional geothermal fields.53 Because this technology is not limited to conventional hydrothermal resources, the potential is significant and is estimated to be 100 GW in the United States alone.54 A further challenge in some locations can be the release of potentially harmful air emissions from geothermal plants.55 For example, the Puna geothermal plant on the US Island of Hawaii was fined for uncontrolled emissions of hydrogen sulphide in early 2015.56 Hydrogen sulphide emissions at the 303 MW HellisheidipowerplantontheoutskirtsofReykjavik,Iceland,also have raised concerns. To address this issue, plant operators at Hellisheidi started hydrogen capture and re-injection protocols in 2014.57 One industry innovation in 2014 is geothermal-solar thermal hybrid systems. Enel Green Power (Italy), in co-operation with US partners, explored the benefits of using concentrated solar power to supplement geothermal heat for power production at the Stillwater binary plant in Nevada.58 In Italy, Enel started construction of another hybrid configuration, combining geothermal power with biomass sourced from local forests. The system is expected to return higher steam temperatures than otherwise, for greater efficiency and output.59 There were 612 geothermal power plants operating worldwide by the end of 2014. The majority of installed capacity—7.8 GW and 63% of global geothermal generation—is represented by 237 flash plants. Flash plants separate steam from the water stream before driving a turbine, and they are used in fields that have plentiful steam at temperatures above 180 °C. More numerous, but representing less capacity (1.8 GW and 12% of generation), are the 286 binary-cycle plants, which typically operate at resource temperatures of 100–180 °C. There are also 63 dry steam plants (2.9 GW and 22% of generation), the oldest type of geothermal power plant, implemented where water/ steam phase separation is not required.60 The main geothermal field/plant operators in 2014 were US-based Chevron and Calpine (1.3 GW each), followed by EDC of the Philippines (1.2 GW), the Mexican state utility CFE and Italy’s Enel Green Power (1 GW each), and the US-based Ormat (0.9 GW).61 The market leaders for new turbine installations were Mitsubishi, Ormat, and Fuji Electric, which together represented 60% of new units and 75% of existing capacity in 2013.62 For all existing capacity, the market leaders have been mostly Japanese, with Toshiba, Mitsubishi, and Fuji Electric each accounting for 2.6–3.0 GW. They are followed by Ormat (binary technology) and Ansaldo-Tosi (1.7 GW each), and General Electric-Nuovo Pignone, which ranks sixth (500 MW); all others represent significantly less.63 In addition to Ormat, other (mostly binary) turbine manufacturers include Exergy, Atlas Copco, Electra Therm, TAS Energy, Cryostar, and Turboden.64

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