Geothermal power could satisfy nearly double the predicted electricity demand of Central American countries through 2020, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on Monday.
However, IRENA argues that several barriers, including the lack of adequate policies and regulations for the use and development of geothermal resources, hampers its expansion in the region.
Central American countries can unlock 20 times the currently installed geothermal capacity by adopting the necessary policy and regulatory frameworks to support its deployment, the agency underlined.
To assist Central America in increasing its share of geothermal energy, IRENA, under the Global Geothermal Alliance, a multi-stakeholder initiative aiming to increase the share of global geothermal energy, started implementing a regional capacity building program.
The program supports the development of capabilities of various stakeholders along the geothermal value chain in Central American countries.
The region’s leading countries with the highest geothermal capacity are Costa Rica with 207 megawatts (MW), El Salvador with 204 MW and Nicaragua with 55 MW, IRENA said.
"Central America holds some of the world’s most promising geothermal resources, that if utilized can help the region secure and deliver inexpensive electricity while stimulating low-carbon economic growth," said Gurbuz Gonul, acting director of country, support and partnerships at IRENA.
"Geothermal energy has proven to provide stable and affordable electricity, and offers flexibility through the direct use of geothermal heat in domestic, commercial and industrial sectors," Gonul added.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic