The current combination of geopolitical pressures, and the urgent need to tackle climate change are shaping an opportunity for geothermal to surge across the region as a path to energy transition to clean, reliable and resilient baseload power. However, geothermal energy is not only available to generate electricity, but also direct uses of heat are as important for agribusiness, tourism, industrial and a commercial heat, and district heating among other applications
In addition to increasing the demand for renewables for its production, geothermal can provide flexibility and security to the electrical system. Currently, solar and wind energy have gained much ground in the electricity industry, partly thanks to decreased costs. In most countries, these technologies are the most competitive. However, the great challenge remains to guarantee the continuity of electrical services and the safety and reliability of the electrical grid. To solve this, geothermal is a renewable source that can provide flexibility to the electrical system by being used as a baseload to better manage the other intermittent renewables. At this stage, hefty geothermal investments seem inevitable. Sooner than later, the new wave of progressive governments in the region will see the clear advantages the technology has to offer in the long run.
At the IDB, we are committed to supporting countries in formulating and implementing fair and sustainable decarbonization strategies. As part of this process, we are contributing to financing policies and developing geothermal roadmaps in several countries. The IDB also has the financial capacity to support both pilot projects and industrial-scale projects throughout the geothermal power generation and direct uses of the residual heat value chain. The IDB will continue to support the region in geothermal regulatory frameworks and policies and in mobilizing and leveraging investments and helping scale geothermal projects. The potential of the geothermal industry in the energy transition is enormous, and we are ready to make the region a leader in the international geothermal industry.
GEOLAC 2022: Bringing together regional geothermal perspectives
As part of these efforts, the IDB will co-host the 9th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean (GEOLAC), organized by New Energy Events, in collaboration with The World Bank and ESMAP. GEOLAC is the largest geothermal event, gathering developers, public authorities, financiers and main stakeholders of Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region in geothermal energy. Launched back in 2012, the event aims to gather the private, public and multilateral stakeholders during three days of in-person meetings to showcase and promote the development of geothermal projects in the region. Through an array of high-level and expert panels and collaborative roundtables, GEOLAC speakers and attendees will explore and debate effective strategies for expansion for both power production and direct uses of heat and stride to help LAC nations meet their energy, economic and social goals
GEOLAC will set the table to discuss the critical issues and work towards common goals of the geothermal sector. How will volatile global market conditions shape geothermal progress in the region? With the proper development support, could geothermal be the solution to the region’s energy security transition goals and climate action? How do new technologies change the narrative? Can we harness geothermal energy to produce green hydrogen and then transform it to its carriers, green ammonia and methanol? These are the among the questions the event aims to raise and answer. And at this stage, the answers look promising.
The 2022 GEOLAC will take place back in person at the Hilton Reforma in Mexico City this November 7th through 9th. The event will be held in person, including a field visit to Los Azufres geothermal plant in Michoacan. To learn more and join us in this event, you can register here.