Geothermal Projects Making Headway

Geothermal energy is gaining favor in the race to find alternative energy sources, according to a July 28 press release from Frost & Sullivan.

The company, founded in 1961, has 31 global offices with more than 1,700 industry consultants, market research analysts, technology analysts, and economists. Its mission is to research and analyze new market opportunities for corporate growth.

Geothermal energy is continuous because the heat is trapped inside the Earth, without depleting. This places this source above wind and solar energy, which tend to have a capacity factor of only 20 to 35 percent; geothermal capacity is more than 70 percent.

Although global energy use from geothermal sources today only amounts to less than 1 percent, geothermal projects now exist in around 20 countries around the world.

Frost & Sullivan attributes its previously limited use to the high start-up costs. However, with the steep price increases of oil and gas emission concerns, geothermal energy is generating greater interest everywhere.

The only major impediment to geothermal energy success is the high cost of setting up and drilling the hot water from under the Earth's surface. The prices are comparable to drilling in the oil and gas industry. However, research shows costs are dropping. The generation costs of geothermal electricity used to be between 50 and 150 euros/MWh in 2005. This is expected to fall to between 40 and 100 euros/MWh in 2010.

Already in the EU, geothermal plants are found in Iceland, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Germany, and Austria.

Frost & Sullivan is organizing an executive symposium, The Global Green Revolution 2008: Driving Growth through Sustainable Technology and Innovation, which will focus on strategies for seizing real market opportunities. It will be held Sept. 17 in San Francisco, Calif.. For more information, contact Chiara Carella at chiara.carella@frost.com .

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