The World Bank launched a fund on Wednesday to expand renewable energy generation in developing countries with a substantial investment in geothermal power. The Global Geothermal Development Plan (GGDP) will provide assistance and support in bringing geothermal energy-a currently underutilized resource-into the mainstream as a clean, cheap and reliable source of locally-produced power. The fund was launched at the Geothermal Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, a nation in which around 26.2% of energy is supplied by geothermal sources.
According to surface exploration studies conducted throughout the world, many developing countries are rich in geothermal resources, including areas of East Africa, South Asia, Central America and the Andean region. However, tapping into these resources can require hefty initial expenses, with risky test drillings used to determine the viability of a given geothermal stream. The viability assessment of a single stream can cost up to $25 million—an investment which is lost if it turns out the site has no geothermal potential.
The initial goal of the Global Geothermal Development Plan is to raise $500 million for identifying potential projects in a variety of countries. Through bilateral assistance and existing channels such as the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) or the Global Environment Facility (GEF), donors can help out developing countries that currently have economies dependent on the fluctuating prices of oil.
The World Bank has already increased its funding for geothermal development from $73 million in 2007 to $336 million in 2012, which is almost 10 percent of the World Bank’s total funding for renewable energy.
Lead Photo by Ásgeir Eggertsson via Wikimedia Commons