Global Geothermal Power Generation Market to Gain from New Technology Proliferation

Published: Tue 28 Apr 2015
A blog entry by john warner

Contributed by:

john warner
Research Analysist
Transparency Market Research

john warner's Blog

Geothermal energy is derived from the earth’s crust, which is a source of immense amount of heat. This energy is employed for two main purposes - direct use and power generation. The global geothermal energy market provides geothermal energy for several power generation purposes. The process of geothermal power generation requires conversion of water into steam; this is executed using the heat available in the earth’s crust. Geothermal power generation process involves the rotation of turbines with steam to produce electricity. The global market for geothermal power generation is anticipated to benefit significantly in terms of overall investment and installed capacity.


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Significant Opportunities for Geothermal Power Generation Market Players due to New Technology


Since global geothermal power generation market is a renewable type of energy it can be used to supply base and load demand. Due to this nature of geothermal power generation, many countries around the world are increasingly using this energy. In 2010, 24 nations were using geothermal power to produce electricity, and approximately 70% of the energy was used for various forms of heating.


The global market for geothermal energy will be driven by the environmental benefits this energy provides such as lower GHG emissions. In addition to this, strong policy support form governments around the world will also drive the geothermal power generation market. High capacity utilization, stability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness associated with geothermal power generation will further support the market.


Furthermore, the proliferation of new technology along with the prospects of tactical mergers and acquisitions and alliance provides good opportunities for players operating in this industry. Some of the top corporations operating in the geothermal power generation market include Ormat Technologies, Entel Green Power, Calpine Corporation, CYRQ Energy Inc., Alterra Power Corporation, US Geothermal Inc., and Raya Group Limited.


Flash Steam Sector Dominates Global Geothermal Power Generation Market


The global market for geothermal power generation according to technology is divided into dry steam, binary cycle, and flash steam. Dry steam-based technology plants are the oldest in the market. These plants need high temperature resources to efficiently generate geothermal power. On the other hand, flash steam plants dominate a major share of the market in terms of overall installations worldwide. The flash steam power plants sector is further classified into triple, dual, and single flash power plants. The technology of binary cycle power plant in the geothermal power generation market is comparatively new. In these plants, a heat exchange with a secondary fluid with a lower boiling point is used. This allows binary cycle power plants to sustain high efficiency and create power from resources at lower temperatures. With depleting resources, these geothermal power generation plants will grab a significant share in the future.


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Two new technologies called enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) and solar-geothermal hybrids are still in their nascent stage in the market. These two technologies offer highly efficient and sustainable power generation. A major drawback of these two technologies is that they are still quite expensive and are not able to support power generation at grid parity levels.


The market share of binary cycle power plants is increasing in North America; this technology has been in use in this region since 2007. The U.S. market for geothermal power generation has reached maturity due to depleting resources and increasing exploitation of geothermal energy. The European market for geothermal power generation has also matured. Italy and Iceland in the European market derive a substantial part of their overall electricity requirement from geothermal energy. Asia Pacific continues to be an untapped market, providing good growth opportunities for market players.


The global market for geothermal power generation will expand at a strong CAGR of 23.58% during the forecast period of 2013 to 2019. In the foreseeable future, the number of plants for geothermal power generation will grow at a steady rate. It is estimated by market analysts that by the end of 2019, the global geothermal power generation market will be worth US$8.9 billion.


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