Thursday, December 17, 2015

Global: Professor Calls for Consideration of Geothermal Energy

Opinion: Geothermal Energy Could Grow Six Fold (

by Michael McDonald, assistant professor of finance

One little noticed side result of the recent Paris Conference was the launch of the Global Geothermal Alliance. The goal of the group is to promulgate a six fold increase in geothermal electricity production by 2030 along with a tripling of geothermal derived heating. The group says that although geothermal power today provides around 12 gigawatts of electricity annually with production growing at 3-4 percent per year, this is a fraction of the potential total productive capacity.

A commitment by the world to geothermal energy illustrates the all-important willingness to look at every form of power generation big and small for the future. Some power sources simply make more sense in some areas than others. Geothermal energy makes a lot of sense in Indonesia and Iceland, but less sense in, say, Arizona. Conversely solar power makes sense in Arizona, but not in Iceland. Thus the hallmark of success in green energy is not a dogmatic belief in a certain source of energy production, but rather the willingness to work with whatever energy production source makes the most sense in a given region. And geothermal energy should certainly be a piece of that puzzle.

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