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Geothermal heat globally

The world looks to geothermal

Geothermal energy is a proven technology globally. In 2009, China was the biggest user of geothermal heat, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In Europe, geothermal district heating systems (GeoDH) are becoming increasingly popular. In 2011, there were 212 in operation, with France, Germany and Hungary the biggest users. An additional 4GW of GeoDH capacity is due to come on stream by 2016. Geothermal heat has the ability to meet the earth’s energy demands – 4,000 times over. By 2020 nearly all European states will have GeoDH.

Offer Incentives

The IEA has called on policy makers, local authorities and utilities to be more aware of the geothermal resources available and how they can be used. It calls on them to:

  • Introduce economic incentive schemes for geothermal heat and geothermal power
  • Introduce streamlined and time-effective procedures for issuing licences for geothermal development.

Achieve global potential

Geothermal heat is ideal for colder countries. However, warmer countries can also use it for agricultural and industrial processes. The IEA predicts that geothermal heat could contribute 5.8 EJ annually by 2050. The largest potential for geothermal heat can be found in Europe, China and North America.

A call to action

For the potential of geothermal energy to be achieved, resolute action is needed. Scientists, governments, industry, financial institutions and the public must act immediately.

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