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Energies 2014, 7(8), 4802-4812;

Geothermal Power Growth 1995–2013—A Comparison with Other Renewables

Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich, Sonneggstrasse 5, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Received: 4 April 2014 / Revised: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential)
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Based on global statistical data the current status of deep geothermal resource utilization for electricity generation is presented. Particular attention is paid to growth rates. The rates are compared with those of other renewable energies (biomass, hydro, solar photovoltaic (PV), wind). Whereas wind and solar PV exhibit annual growth rates of 25%–30% since 2004, geothermal growth is only about 5% per year. Geothermal electricity production (in TW∙h/yr) was higher until 2011 than from solar PV, but is now clearly falling behind. So far the global geothermal electricity generation is provided nearly entirely by hydrothermal resources, which exist only under specific geologic conditions. Further development (=increasing production capacity) based on this resource type alone will therefore hardly accelerate to two-digit (>10% per year) growth rates. Faster growth can only be achieved by using the ubiquitous petrothermal resources, provided that the key problem will be solved: establishing a universally applicable technology. This would enable to create, at any requested site, feasible and efficient deep heat exchangers for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) power plants—irrespective of the local subsurface conditions. Goals and challenges of this technology are addressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: electric power; current annual growth rates; future prospects electric power; current annual growth rates; future prospects

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Rybach, L. Geothermal Power Growth 1995–2013—A Comparison with Other Renewables. Energies 2014, 7, 4802-4812.

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