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World Bank Promotes Geothermal Energy Expansion in Developing Countries

World Bank6 March 2013: The World Bank has called on multilateral banks, governments, donors and business stakeholders to join the nascent Global Geothermal Development Plan (GGDP), which envisages fostering geothermal energy that is, at present, underutilized. The Bank expects to mobilize US$500 million for the GGDP to better manage risks of exploratory drilling and mainstream geothermal energy.

The mission of the GGDP is to scale up funding for exploratory drilling and to enhance commercial opportunities for future projects at a global scale. The Bank indicates that the most adequate regions to explore for geothermal energy include East Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and the Andean region of South America.

According to the World Bank, to date only 11 gigawatts of geothermal energy are being produced globally but has three advantages from the perspective of the developing countries– it is clean, reliable and locally-produced. However, prohibitively high up-front costs of up to $15-25 million have hindered its expansion.

The Bank says donors can contribute to GGDP by evaluating project viability; providing bilateral assistance; or contributing to the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The GGDP is designed to complement the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative that seeks to provide universal access to modern energy services, double the proportion of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and double the rate of energy efficiency improvement. [World Bank Press Release] [SE4ALL Website]