Governments have agreed to work together to identify and implement measures that will increase the speed of geothermal energy development, following a meeting between public and private leaders in Florence, Italy this week.
Under the terms of the ‘Florence Declaration’ – an outcome of the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) meeting – governments will actively pursue a collective ambition to realise geothermal potential.
The meeting, entitled: ‘Working Together to Promote Geothermal Energy Towards a Sustainable Energy Future’ – the largest such meeting of ministerial representatives to discuss geothermal energy – was marked by the release of a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), coordinator of the GGA, in which access to capital for surface exploration and drilling was cited as the main barrier to geothermal development.
The report also noted that more ‘transparent government regulations that avoid project delays’ were needed to provide sufficient certainty to developers and investors.
Minister of Environment, Gian Luca Galletti stated: “Italy considers the Paris Agreement to be irreversible and non-negotiable and therefore strives to promote geothermal and other renewable energy sources as a vital component for the planet's sustainable development.”
“Geothermal's vast potential is currently untapped,” he continued. “We must develop new technologies and encourage new investments to ensure we cover this gap. The Alliance will multiply its efforts to guide this process, and Italy will provide its contribution with its long experience and know-how.”
Teresa Bellanova, Italy’s Vice Minister of Economy and Development, said: "Geothermal energy’s consistent and continuous availability make it a highly precious source of renewable energy both in Italy and many countries all over the world. Through our knowledge of the industry, Italy can play an important role in achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, in addition to stimulating sustainable job creation."
Director General of Irena Adnan Z Amin said: “This meeting has, without question, allowed both the policy and industry communities to identify common ground in the pursuit of what is a renewable energy source with tremendous potential.
“If we can identify and implement mechanisms that deliver a greater level of certainty to investors and developers, then we will move beyond meaningful dialogue to decisive action that accelerates geothermal production contributing significantly to decarbonisation of the global economy, whilst creating jobs and supporting growth around the world,” he added.
"Access to low carbon forms of energy that support economic development while mitigating climate change, is a core priority for the African Union,” said Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. “Geothermal energy is emerging as a hidden gem of Africa’s renewable energy resources and we must work together, across nations, to ensure this resource achieves its potential.
“Through partnerships and the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility, the African Union is currently supporting twenty-six projects in East African countries that will generate more than 1500 MW of power. We aim to build on this, supporting sustainable exploration, through the work of this Alliance,” Abou-Zeid added.
The GGA meeting was attended by more than 200 high-level public, intergovernmental, non-governmental and senior private sector representatives committed to scaling up geothermal energy deployment worldwide.
Carlo Pignoloni, head of Renewable Energies Italy, Iberia, rest of Europe and North Africa at ENEL, said: “Geothermal power can play a significant role in promoting a sustainable and clean development globally. Stable regulatory frameworks, long-term licenses and bankable PPAs, in addition to transparent and public tenders, are key to if we are to take full advantage of the vast global geothermal potential.”
The GGA membership is composed of 42 countries, and 29 partner institutions, including multilateral organisations, development partners, international and regional organisations, global financial institutions, academia, research institutions and the and private sector.
The Alliance aims to enhance multilateral efforts towards a more favourable environment to achieve a 500 per cent increase in global installed capacity for geothermal power generation and a 200 per cent increase in geothermal heating by 2030.