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World Bank Calls for a Geothermal Energy RevolutionNearly 40 countries have met their energy needs by utilizing geothermal energy. The global potential for geothermal energy is very much untapped, with worldwide geothermal electricity capacity at only 11 gigawatts, or .3% of the total global power generation. To change this, the World Bank is implementing a Global Geothermal Development Plan to generate geothermal power for low- and middle-income countries to deliver power to 1.3 billion around the world who are without it.

At the Iceland Geothermal Conference in Reykjavik on March 6, Sri Mulyani, World Bank Managing Director, spoke about the need for donations to support the Plan as well as the importance of geothermal energy for developing countries. “Geothermal energy could be a triple win for developing countries: clean, reliable, locally-produced power,” said Indrawati. “And once it is up and running, it is cheap and virtually endless.” She adds that previously geothermal energy work has been done at the national and regional levels and that what is needed now is “a global push.”

The World Bank’s plan will focus on exploratory test drilling which makes geothermal projects more capital intensive than other renewable sources due to expensive and sometimes fruitless drilling. Significant investment in these projects is needed before a site is deemed viable enough to provide considerable geothermal energy. The cost of testing the potential of a site to produce geothermal energy is US$15 to 25 million, an investment that is lost if the site proves not suitable. However, in countries with more dense populations, geothermal energy, which has the smallest land footprint per kilowatt-hour, is an especially useful resource. The goal is to develop a pipeline of projects that are commercially-viable and ready for private investment.

25% of Iceland’s electrical power is generated by geothermal power plants and 95% of Iceland is heated by volcanic hot water. Currently, Iceland is potentially looking to sell and export the surplus energy the country produces. In collaboration with Iceland, the World Bank is working to assist surface exploration studies and technical assistance for some African countries. The Olkaria Geothermal Plant in Kenya has received long-term support from the World Bank. Only 16% of the Kenyan population has access to electricity. With an abundance of geothermal resources present in East Africa’s Rift Valley, the geothermal potential could provide 150 million households with power. The World Bank’s plan is to double geothermal generation to deliver close to 30% of Kenya’s electricity by 2020. Pierre Audient, Clean Energy Program Team Leader at the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program calls it “a potentially transformative resource,” especially for many developing countries.

Throughout the developing world, there are untapped geothermal resources. Geothermal energy is carbon-free access to electricity, is relatively clean, and delivers constant power. World Bank Group funding for geothermal developments has risen from $73 million in 2007 to $336 million in 2012. With the Global Geothermal Development Plan, the World Bank hopes to increase its support.

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: World Bank

USAID Funding Power Station in Pakistan
The first phase of construction on the Tarbela Hydel Power Station, located in Lahore, Pakistan, has been completed. The project, which is being financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), allowed the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to add 128 megawatts of electricity to the station.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, visited the power station and was briefed by WAPDA Chairman Syed Raghib Shah. Shah said that the WAPDA appreciates the United States’ aid in updating Pakistan’s energy sector, and also stated that these upgrades will allow more consistent electricity to be provided to the people of Pakistan for a very affordable price.

Along with upgrading current power stations throughout Pakistan, WAPDA is also using funds from USAID to construct brand new power stations.

Ambassador Olson stated, “The United States understands that Pakistan is facing an energy crisis and we are committed to doing our part,” and also said that the recent upgrade at the Tarbela station will contribute enough power to provide electricity to 2 million people, and to ensure a consistent source of electricity to avoid blackouts and outages.

As part of a larger project, USAID is providing WAPDA with $16.5 million to repair three additional power stations and to train employees that will finish the Tarbela Hydel Power Station in Pakistan. Besides these three power plants, USAID is also funding additional hydropower projects throughout Pakistan – these efforts include the construction of two dams that will provide an extra 35 MW of power and irrigate 200,000 acres of land.

Christina Kindlon

Source: The News
Photo: Pakistan Today