The geothermal energy market is set to reach a market value of $12.94 billion in 2012. This includes spending on the construction of geothermal power plants used to produce electricity, and spending on the installation of geothermal heat pumps, district heating systems, and the other applications that make up the direct use geothermal submarket.
Over the next ten years the geothermal energy market is likely to see significant investment, though market growth will be unevenly spread throughout the world as each region is influenced by a diverse array of factors.
Geothermal energy is a type of thermal energy generated and stored at accessible depths in the Earth's crust. It can either be used in power plants to produce electricity or used directly in a number of applications.
In the first instance, the steam or vapour from reservoirs of hot water found a few miles or more below the Earth's surface are used to drive a turbine to produce electricity.
In the second case, direct use geothermal systems use resources at lower temperatures than are required for most geothermal power plants.
Currently only 26 countries around the globe use geothermal energy to generate power, and as of 2010 there was a total global capacity of 10,715 megawatts.
The US represents the largest regional producer within the geothermal energy market, with 3,086 megawatts of capacity. The Philippines and Indonesia trail the US generating 1,904 megawatts and 1,179 megawatts respectively.
Interest within the geothermal energy market is increasing and it has been forecast that by 2020 as much as 14.4 gigawatts of new geothermal capacity will be added at a 3% annual growth rate.
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