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CIF Program to Help Overcome Barriers to Geothermal Investments

CIF18 December 2013: The World Bank has reported on efforts to implement the US$115 million Utility Scale Renewable Energy Program, which was launched in October 2013 by the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The Program will foster private sector involvement in geothermal energy exploration and test drilling, the riskiest element of geothermal energy development.

The Program will support the World Bank's Global Geothermal Development Plan (GGDP), which aims to support developing countries in scaling up investment in geothermal energy, a renewable resource that can provide stable, long-term energy but “is prohibitively expensive for most countries, and prohibitively risky for private companies,” according to Rohit Khanna, Program Manager, World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP).

The World Bank notes that these barriers represent a minimum of 10% of overall project costs, with no guarantee of a return. The new Program aims to help overcome these barriers, and along with the GGDP, to facilitate a global reduction in the risk, and therefore cost, of geothermal energy development.

The Program will initially support projects in four pilot CTF countries with high geothermal potential, namely: Chile, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey. The Program is open for additional pledges from donors to expand coverage to other countries, such as Ethiopia and Kenya.

The proposal for the new Program was developed by the World Bank's ESMAP in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). [World Bank Press Release]