Renewable energies

Geothermal energy

View of the geothermal power station Olkaria in Kenya

Only about 0.4 per cent of the global energy require­ment is covered by geother­mal energy. This is the case even though the energy potential inherent in the high temperatures within the Earth's interior is virtually inexhaustible, and can be utilised around the clock. Experts have calculated that it would be possible to extract from the earth every year more than ten times the amount of energy currently consumed around the world.

So far little use has been made of geothermal energy, usually be­cause there is uncertainty concerning the locally available resources, and decision-makers shy away from the financial risk of surveying these resources. To be able to determine the geothermal potential of a region, it is necessary to conduct preliminary investigations at the Earth's surface, as well as costly exploratory drilling. This drives the initial investment costs up, before it has been demonstrated that the geothermal energy can actually be utilised. Apart from the initial investment, though, alongside hydropower geothermal energy is one of the least expensive and most profitable sources of power.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is promoting geothermal energy use. Partner countries are being supported in developing this source of energy through the GEOTHERM programme. The programme's service offering includes inter alia training measures conducted during geoscientific site exploration, and the delivery of advisory services to political decision-makers – for instance concerning potential financing options. Since 2003 the BGR has been supporting the following countries: Chile, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Viet Nam, and Yemen.

BMZ glossary

Close window


Share page