Geothermal Energy – Installed Capacities and Comparison with Other Renewables

Geothermal Energy – Installed Capacities and Comparison with Other Renewables

Every day there is increased use and installation of renewable energy. The highest percentage of installed renewable energy goes to hydro power, wind power and then comes solar power. Geothermal energy as a source has advantage over the other renewables and that is to produce electricity regardless whether it is day or night, regardless of

Every day there is increased use and installation of renewable energy. The highest percentage of installed renewable energy goes to hydro power, wind power and then comes solar power. Geothermal energy as a source has advantage over the other renewables and that is to produce electricity regardless whether it is day or night, regardless of weather and climate conditions.

There are two main types of geothermal sources that produce electricity. Those are hydrothermal and petrothermal. Hydrothermal sources comes from natural geothermal fluid which are located underground. The fluid is used as thermal source and it is taken out using boreholes. Hydrothermal sources are located only in certain places and therefore they are quite rare. On the other hand petrothermal sources are widespread, but rarely exploited. These sources mainly consist of “heat in place” in deep rock formations underground.

Currently there is 12 GWe from geothermal energy installed in the world in 24 countries. 99% of those 12 GWe is produced from hydrothermal sources. Production of electricity from geothermal energy started in 1904 in Landarello, Italy. The largest geothermal power plant is located in New Zealand with the power of 140 MWe and power is derived from 6 geothermal wells.

According to World Energy Assessment (WEA) potential of geothermal energy is huge. You can see data for potential in table 1.

Table 1. Potential of renewable energy according to WEA

Energy source Potential (EJ/yr.)
Geothermal 5000
Solar 1575
Wind 640
Biomass 276
Hydro 50
Total 7541

The growth of installed geothermal power plants is practically linear.

According to the Geothermal Energy Association growth from 2000 to 2013 is small. In recent years there was a rise in installed capacities of solar and wind energy. It resulted that today there is 319 GW of installed wind power and 139 GW of installed solar power plants in the world. Wind cannot blow constantly and wind power plants cannot work for 24 hours. The sun only shines during a day and solar power plants produce electricity only during
day. Geothermal power plant can produce electricity continuously (except in maintenance time). The next table shows the installed capacity of renewable energy and their annual production.

Table 2. Comparison of world annual electricity production from renewable energy in 2013 (REN21)

Technology

Installed capacity

Annual production

Unused potential

GWe

%

TWh/godišnje

%

%

Hydro energy

1000

64,2

3680

74,9

42

Biomass

88

5,7

405

8,2

53

Wind

318

20,4

585

11,9

21

Geothermal

12

0,8

76

1,5

72

Solar

139

8,9

170

3,5

14

Total

1557

100

4916

100

From the review we can conclude that there is potential for geothermal energy. The only thing is to use that potential in right way. This type of renewable energy produces electricity 24 hours a day, it does not require wind or sun. It remains to be seen what is going to happen to investments in this sector and whether capacities will increase in coming years.

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