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0% of global electricity is generated from Geothermal

0.30 % Share of global electricity
38 gCO2eq/kWh Carbon Intensity

Geothermal energy is a sustainable and low-carbon source of power derived from the natural heat stored beneath the Earth's surface. This heat originates from the Earth's formation and the radioactive decay of minerals and is accessed via geothermal plants. It can be harnessed in diverse ways, from heating homes and greenhouses to generating electricity. Geothermal plants can operate consistently, providing a stable source of energy irrespective of weather conditions, making it a reliable component of the world's energy mix.

To generate electricity from geothermal energy, wells are drilled into geothermal reservoirs to access steam and hot water. The steam or heat is then used to drive turbines connected to electricity generators. This process can be implemented through various methods, such as dry steam, flash steam, or binary cycle power plants. The choice of method depends on the temperature and pressure of the geothermal resource. After driving the turbines, the cooled water is often re-injected into the Earth, recycling the resource sustainably.

One significant advantage of geothermal energy is its low carbon intensity. With emissions averaging around 38 gCO2eq/kWh, geothermal is a cleaner option compared to fossil fuels like coal (820 gCO2eq/kWh) and gas (490 gCO2eq/kWh). Comparable to other low-carbon technologies such as wind (11 gCO2eq/kWh), nuclear (12 gCO2eq/kWh), and solar (45 gCO2eq/kWh), geothermal contributes to reducing global carbon emissions and combatting climate change.

Although geothermal currently generates only 0.3% of the world's electricity, it plays a prominent role in certain regions. For example, in Iceland, approximately 29% of electricity is generated from geothermal sources. This reliance demonstrates the potential for geothermal to support national grid systems sustainably and efficiently. Similarly, New Zealand derives 17% of its electricity from geothermal energy, showcasing the technology's feasibility in varied geographic settings.

Other nations, such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guadeloupe, have also successfully integrated geothermal into their energy portfolios. Costa Rica generates 11% of its electricity, El Salvador 20%, and Guadeloupe 5% from geothermal energy. These examples highlight the adaptability and reliability of geothermal technology in providing a substantial share of a country’s electricity, supporting the transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources.

Incorporating geothermal along with other low-carbon technologies like wind, nuclear, and solar creates a robust and diversified energy grid. This combination not only promotes environmental sustainability but also enhances energy security and economic stability. By investing in clean energy technologies, countries can reduce their carbon footprints and contribute to a global effort to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and air pollution caused by fossil fuels.

Country/Region Watts / person % TWh
Iceland 1772.3 W 29.0% 5.7 TWh
New Zealand 169.4 W 17.1% 7.6 TWh
Costa Rica 29.2 W 10.7% 1.3 TWh
El Salvador 28.7 W 20.1% 1.6 TWh
Guadeloupe 23.1 W 4.8% 0.1 TWh
Switzerland 14.6 W 1.6% 1.1 TWh
Turkey 13.6 W 3.1% 10.1 TWh
Kenya 13.0 W 46.5% 6.0 TWh
Nicaragua 12.2 W 13.8% 0.7 TWh
Philippines 11.7 W 9.9% 11.7 TWh
Italy 11.0 W 1.8% 5.7 TWh
Indonesia 7.0 W 5.0% 16.7 TWh
United States 6.3 W 0.4% 18.6 TWh
Papua New Guinea 4.6 W 8.3% 0.4 TWh
Honduras 4.0 W 2.9% 0.4 TWh
Chile 2.5 W 0.5% 0.4 TWh
Guatemala 2.1 W 2.5% 0.3 TWh
Portugal 2.1 W 0.3% 0.2 TWh
EU 1.7 W 0.2% 6.7 TWh
The World 1.3 W 0.3% 89.9 TWh
France 1.1 W 0.1% 0.6 TWh
Norway 0.4 W 0.0% 0.0 TWh
Germany 0.3 W 0.0% 0.2 TWh
Slovakia 0.2 W 0.0% 0.0 TWh
Republic of China (Taiwan) 0.1 W 0.0% 0.0 TWh
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