Time to use more of geothermal power
Geothermal power has been one of green energy alternatives that energy authorities are looking into: how the underground heat can be turned into energy. In Thailand, there is one geothermal plant in Phang district, Chiang Mai, but with a small capacity of 0.3 megawatt.
Bangchak Petroleum’s former president Anusorn Sangnimnuan was one who showed interest in such power. In December 2012, he led a media tour to the Mori Geothermal Power Plant in Hokkaido, Japan. The power plant, established in 1972, is a big project. It started generating electricity in 1982 with a production capacity 50 megawatts. It brings up heat from as deep as 3km underground.
During the visit, Anusorn noted that Thailand shows a potential to make use of the CO2-free geothermal power, particularly in the North where power can satisfy community demands. This can save their electricity bills and should win community supports.
"The system there can’t be replicated in Thailand but of course, it can take place at an ASEAN country like Indonesia and the Philippines," Anusorn said.
According to KPMG's report "World Geothermal Market & Outlook" in 2010 said that in the year 2010, 24 countries around the world were utilising geothermal energy for electricity production. The world's total installed capacity in 2010 was 10,715 megawatt equivalent (Mwe), a 20 per cent increase from 2005. The US leads the way in terms of nstalled capacity with 3,074 Mwe followed by the Philippines with 1,902 MWe and Indonesia with 1,187 MWe. The US also leads the world in terms of developing projects with over 150 geothermal development projects underway in 13 states.
Geothermal energy has a lower levelised cost of electricity than all other renewable energy sources except for biomass. It also compares favorably to advanced coal and advanced gas power plants.
The latest phase of geothermal development is being driven by government support mechanisms and the liberalisation of electricity markets around the world. Support mechanisms include tax credits and grants, renewable portfolio standards, and feed-in tariffs
The research said that the need for the world to switch to renewable energy sources has been at the heart of an ongoing conversation that is fueled by concerns for the environment, energy security and the sustainability of the current energy consumption. As the world heads towards a new energy economy, geothermal energy will inevitably play a larger role in the world's future energy mix.
The last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in investment in renewable energy as governments around the world have introduced various incentives to make such investments more attractive. The geothermal energy sector is in direct competition with other renewable sources when it comes to funding research and attracting investment capital.
Renewable energy sources are usually lumped together in the same category but this can be misleading. Unlike solar and wind, geothermal energy is a very reliable source of clean, base-load electricity.