Geothermal Development Publications


Geothermal energy holds tremendous long-term promise for reducing emissions in our warming world. But a site’s potential is not known until a fairly large investment is committed upfront for exploration, which may reveal inadequate resources and prove to be a poor return on investment. Most private investors and developers are not willing to take the risk. ESMAP’s GGDP is breaking down barriers to geothermal energy expansion by mobilizing financing to share the risks of investments in early-stage drilling. 

The GGDP has been one of the World Bank’s most important tools for unlocking investment in this area and working to expand markets in countries around the world.


Greenhouse Gases from Geothermal Power Production


This report gives guidance to project developers and financial institutions on to how to estimate emissions, ex ante, from geothermal power projects, especially those being considered for financing by The World Bank and other multilateral development banks, or even the private sector. Recommendations are made towards closing identified knowledge gaps relating to effects of production on GHG emissions over time. More importantly, the report offers insights on how concessional financing for investments in gas capture and treatment can be considered where GHG emissions from geothermal exceeds the national grid emission factor.


Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation | A Global Survey

This report presents a comparative assessment of an array of approaches that have been applied around the world, with varying degrees of success, to mitigate resource risks and catalyze investments in developing the geothermal sector. It provides a framework that can help decision makers identify suitable approaches that align with development goals, funding capacity, implementation capabilities, and other country-specific contexts. The report is based on the World Bank’s own extensive global experience in geothermal development and drawing upon international expertise from leading specialists and practitioners.


Geothermal Handbook | Planning and Financing Power Generation


The Geothermal Handbook is a comprehensive guide to planning and financing geothermal projects. Based on lessons learned from multiple investment successes and failures, the handbook presents a step-by-step understanding of the phases of geothermal project development, looking at the risks involved and at the policies, institutions, and financing mechanisms needed to successfully bring projects to fruition. The handbook stresses the importance of concerted international assistance to help finance geothermal scale-up in the early, risky phases of development, to mitigate risk and make projects attractive to private investment. (English | French | Spanish).


Mobilizing Risk Capital to Unlock the Global Potential of Geothermal Power

(Live Wire 71/2017)


Geothermal heat is increasingly being used around the world to produce electricity in an environmentally friendly way. Current technology could potentially produce more than 70GW of power, but only about 15% of that capacity is currently developed and operating. Geothermal power can be very reliable and cleaner source of energy. Because it is non-intermittent and has relatively low operational costs, it is an ideal option for generating base load power. Geothermal power can also serve as a hedge against the volatility of commodity prices, stabilizing systems costs and improving generation mixes. When developed in line with industry standards, it can also provide significant local environmental benefits by offsetting generation options such as coal or diesel, which produce more pollution.


Scaling-Up Renewable Geothermal Energy in Indonesia


Geothermal is a reliable and non-intermittent power source and the only renewable energy that can effectively substitute base load generation. Electricity from geothermal plants would displace coal-based power in Indonesia. To justify public support and evaluate the viability of this “green finance” investment, an integrated approach to decision making was utilized based on the combined assessments of financial-economic-stakeholder-risk impacts.


Drilling Down on Geothermal Potential | An Assessment for Central America


Given its potential in Central America, geothermal energy has attracted the attention of policymakers and private investors as a resource to further develop and supplement hydroelectric generation and to reduce dependency on thermal generation. Fourth in a series, this report looks at those lessons to identify the challenges associated with development of geothermal generation, including physical, financial, regulatory, and institutional barriers. It outlines possible strategies to overcome them at the regional and country levels to illustrate to power sector authorities the potential of native geothermal resources, which are shared by many of the Central American countries.


Drilling Down, Heating Up (Handshake #13, IFC Newsletter)


As the number of countries worldwide that have the potential to meet a sizeable proportion of their electricity demand through geothermal power at a relatively low cost, the promise of public-private partnerships for geothermal energy is rising as well. However, unlike other renewable energy technologies, geothermal’s risk profile is substantially more significant. There are high upfront costs—for surface exploration, validation (exploration and confirmation drilling), and production—before fully securing the geothermal resource. This article explores several models that have the potential to mobilize capital and share the resource risk to fulfill the sector’s promise.


Success of Geothermal Wells | A Global Study


This report presents analysis of a database of global geothermal drilling success. The database, compiled by IFC, covers geothermal fields that together supply power to 71% of the world's installed geothermal electricity generating capacity, making it the largest database of its kind. This report analyzes that data to gain a better understanding of the probability of drilling a successful well, and the factors that influence such success, which will be of interest to geothermal developers and financers engaged in the risk assessment of such projects. The core objective of this project was to develop a sufficiently large database to allow statistically significant conclusions to be drawn on the success rates of geothermal wells worldwide (expressed as the number of successful wells developed as a proportion of total wells drilled in any given field). This report seeks to assess the extent of any improvements in well success rates, and how far the likelihood of success increases as a developer learns more about any specific resource.


Geothermal Exploration Best Practices | A Guide to Resource Data Collection, Analysis, and Presentation for Geothermal Projects


This guide outlines procedures and exploration techniques for geothermal projects and provides guidelines for presenting a geothermal project to funding entities and insurance companies. A focus is placed on high temperature geothermal resources for electricity generation. Exploration best practices for any natural resource commodity should aim to reduce the resource risk prior to significant capital investment, for a fraction of the cost of the planned investment. For geothermal energy, the high risks cost of proving the resource is one of the key barriers facing the industry. Companies that can demonstrate that their project has followed such best practices will find it easier to access finance. In the same way, this guide will be of use to financers of geothermal projects, assisting the assessment of projects to ensure project risks have been addressed. This guide provides potential developers with an outline of the various methodologies and strategies employed in the exploration for geothermal resources for power generation. It does this within the context of the typical geothermal development process from preliminary surveying through to power plant development.


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