Geothermal Energy Production

Heats up in Germany

Today, there is more interest than ever in geothermal power. A 2010 report by the Geothermal Energy Association called “Geothermal Energy: International Market Update” states that both the number of countries producing geothermal power and the total worldwide geothermal power capacity under development appear to be increasing significantly.

The report found that between 2005 and 2010, Germany was the fastest growing geothermal power producer in the world with a whopping 2,774 percent increase in installed megawatt capacity.

Increased awareness of “clean” energy to reduce CO2 emissions, concern over continued world oil production and rising costs of energy exports are all helping to expand Germany’s renewable energy market. But perhaps the biggest driver powering the growth is the country’s Renewable Energy Sources Act—a very ambitious plan to replace 30 percent of the total electricity consumption in Germany with renewable energy by 2030. By 2050, the goal is 60 percent.

Germany announced its new energy goals at the end of the last millennium and today is one of the leading industrial nations in the renewable energy sources sector, according to the country’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

Helping fuel this trend toward climate-friendly energy are government incentives in the form of grants to industries and universities to research and develop enhanced geothermal technologies, and 20-year fixed feed-in tariffs to power plant operators that give priority to electricity that comes from renewable energy sources, such as geothermal—making higher risk and higher cost projects more feasible.

This increase in geothermal drilling and production has made geothermal the fastest growing business for Baker Hughes in continental Europe. Plus, with the Baker Hughes Center of Excellence for geothermal and high-temperature research and development in Celle, Germany, the company is well positioned to support the growing demand for products and services, as well as the government’s ambitious target.

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