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Geothermal energy is abundant, cheap (to extract), clean, and there is enough to theoretically provide for the world’s energy needs. Unfortunately the set up costs, and exploratory tests are incredibly expensive, and this has proved a major hurdle in the development of geothermal energy, especially in poorer countries; many of which actually have great potential.
The World Bank has launched the Global Geothermal Development Plan to try and expand geothermal power in poorer countries. The aim is to provide $500 million to be used to identify potential geothermal hotspots and encourage additional financing for exploratory drilling. The World Bank estimates that testing the viability of sites can cost $15 million to $25 million; which is a big ask, especially as there is always the risk that the site may have no potential.
Related article: Will Japan Embrace Geothermal Power to Move Away from Nuclear?
The WB believes that geothermal energy could play a significant role in providing the electricity needs of many developing countries in East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the Managing Director of the World Bank, said that “geothermal energy could be a triple win for developing countries: clean, reliable, locally-produced power. And once it is up and running, it is cheap and virtually endless.”
“Only a global effort will put geothermal energy in its rightful place – as a primary energy source for many developing countries. Only a global effort will pool resources to spread the risk effectively. It will let us learn from each other, from our failures and successes, and apply that learning,” he said.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com