In its recently released Sixth Edition of the Geothermal Report, ABS Energy Research concludes that although 2009 was a very difficult year for the geothermal industry, the market will continue to grow over the next five years.
According to ABS Energy's research, only 10 projects, totaling 405-megawatts, were commissioned in 2009. The geothermal power projects were located in the United States (181 MW), Indonesia (137 MW), Turkey (47 MW), and Italy (40 MW). The report states the requirement of high up-front investment along with the high risk associated with developing geothermal projects as the chief catalysts for the tough year.
Nevertheless, the Geothermal Report says the overall outlook for the geothermal industry is positive. ABS Energy expects the global geothermal market to increase 78% between 2010 and 2015; this would bring global capacity to 19,016 MW.
The countries driving this growth will be the current world leaders in geothermal production: the U.S., the Philippines, and Indonesia. Goethermal energy is set to enter new markets, however. ABS Energy projects the number of countries producing geothermal energy will rise from 24 at the end of 2009 to 36 in 2015.
Kenya, which has begun to aggressively pursue the development of its geothermal resources, will be one of the largest new markets. The Geothermal Report also highlights South American countries such as Peru and Chile as other emerging geothermal markets.
Although on a much smaller scale, the tiny Caribbean island of St. Lucia could offer the best example of a state tapping into its geothermal potential. The island-state recently announced it will be constructing a 120 MW geothermal power plant. With a population of 160,000, St. Lucia plans to export tow-thirds of the geothermal energy.
The Geothermal Report: Global Geothermal Capacity Will Grow 78% by 2015 | Nathanael Baker