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Geothermal: One of the most attractive renewable energy resources

Hot rocks within the Earth provide a reliable energy source that is not dependent on weather

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Ashley Derry investigates geothermal resources on White Island, N.Z. New Zealand ranks sixth in the world for installed geothermal capacity, according to a 2013 report prepared for the Geothermal Energy Association. While Canada has significant potential for geothermal power and Canadian companies have built successful geothermal power plants abroad, there are no geothermal power plants operating in Canada today.

Mark Derry/Geothermal Resources Council

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Most of the geothermal work in Central and South America is in the early exploration stages. Here, Luis Urzúa, Jun Cabel and Víctor Vargas take samples at Pinaya springs, Chocopata, Peru. Within the volcanic belt of Peru, more than 61 geothermal fields have been identified, 34 of which have one or more hot springs with discharge temperatures greater than 60 C, the report says.

Geothermal Resources Council

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A hot creek spring near Mammoth Lakes, Calif. The United States is the world leader in geothermal energy. California alone has more installed capacity than Indonesia or the Philippines. The United States and Canada are working through a number of regulatory and structural barriers slowing down geothermal development, the Geothermal Energy Association report says.

Piyush Bakane, University of Nevada/Geothermal Resources Council

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The United States leads the list of countries with operating geothermal power plants that produce more than 500 megawatts.

Geothermal Energy Association: 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview

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Here are countries which are developing geothermal power projects, which range from 50 to 500 megawatts. Geothermal power installations are growing in Africa. On Oct. 23, Ethiopia signed a $4-billion deal with American-Icelandic company Reykjavik Geothermal to develop a 1,000-megawatt geothermal farm – Ethiopia’s first. For a country that is vulnerable to erratic weather and oil price fluctuations, geothermal is seen as a good investment.

Geothermal Energy Association: 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview

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Geothermal drilling rig in Laudat, Roseau Valley, Dominican Republic. Globally, 11,765 megawatts of geothermal power were in operation as of August, 2013, in addition to several hundred megawatts in the final stages of construction, the Geothermal Energy Association report says.

Sam Abraham/Geothermal Resources Council

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Steam plumes off the geothermal Wairakei Power Station near the Wairakei geothermal field in New Zealand. Germany is second to the United States with the most new power plants under construction with eight new projects under way.

Joe LaFleur/Geothermal Resources Council

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In Iceland, giant ducts carry superheated steam from within a volcanic field to turbines at Reykjavik Energy’s Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. A global geothermal leader, Iceland has four geothermal projects under construction. It is even considering the possibility of a massive submarine transmission to connect with Europe’s electricity grid. To read more about geothermal power, see link below: Can geothermal industry gather steam in Canada?

Brennan Linsley/Associated Press

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