Geothermal energy – a clean and reliable source of heat and electricity – will play a critical role in the clean energy transition alongside other renewable energy sources. Geothermal resources are widely available in areas with volcanic activity, as well as in sedimentary basins. With the recent accelerated deployment of variable power from wind and solar photovoltaic, geothermal can contribute to the stabilisation of electricity grids. In addition, geothermal energy technology has evolved beyond its focus on the electricity market to encompass a broader range of applications within the energy sector, including for sustainable heating and cooling. These attributes make geothermal a cost-effective and weather-independent source of renewable energy.
Electricity generation from geothermal energy has grown at a modest rate of around 3.5% annually, reaching a total installed capacity of approximately 15.96 gigawatts electric (GWe) in 2021. Geothermal still accounts for a mere 0.5% of renewables-based installed capacity for electricity generation, and heating and cooling, globally. On the other hand, geothermal deployment for heating and cooling grew at an average rate of around 9% annually between 2015 and 2020 to reach 107 gigawatts thermal (GWth) in 2020.
In the coming years, accelerated deployment of geothermal energy will be driven by advancements in geothermal technologies, cross-industry collaborations between geothermal and related sectors, as well as the rising deployment of geothermal for heating and cooling applications. This global assessment provides an overview of developments in the geothermal sector and the factors that are likely to shape the market in the near future. It provides recommendations to guide policy makers, governments, potential investors, development partners and other stakeholders on how to promote the growth of the geothermal market, exploit the potential of geothermal energy and further expand its integration within global energy systems.