Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Climate Change: Determining Geothermal as a Clean Energy

Climate Bonds Standard Geothermal power criteria released for 30 day public consultation (The Climate Bonds Initiative)

Key: must have a near zero-emissions operating profile

Geothermal power has the potential to make an enormous contribution to a rapid transition to a low-emissions economy. The University of Utah estimates that heat from global geothermal resources is equivalent to 42 million megawatts of power. To give you an idea on what that means in practice, one megawatt can meet the power needs of about 1,000 homes. So here we are talking about the potential of 42 million megawatts – million! – that’s millions of homes powered by geothermal. That’s the scale we need!

But you can't assume that geothermal is always a clean energy source. When we convened our expert committee to set out criteria for geothermal we found not all geothermal is low emission. In fact, some geothermal plants can generate higher direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than fossil fuel equivalents - for example, drilling down through some rock types can lead to fugitive greenhouse gas emissions. Robust criteria for geothermal need to exclude those geothermal projects that have high emissions whilst supporting low emission geothermal.

The Geothermal technical working group and expert advisory committee have released their proposed eligibility criteria (see links below) for geothermal projects that qualify under the Climate Bonds Standard. The criteria are subject to a 30-day period of public consultation. You can submit your comments via email.(link sends e-mail)