The Geothermal Energy Association’s newest report on global growth is an admirable effort on putting on a happy face — but its numbers tell another story.
The association reports, for instance, that in 2010 geothermal energy generated “twice the amount of electricity as solar energy did worldwide.” The world’s installed grid-connected PV capacity went from 7.4 gigawatts at the end of 2009, to 16.8 gigawatts at the end of 2010, to 29.7 gigawatts of grid-connected PV at the end of 2011.
The world’s installed geothermal capacity, as of May 2012, was 11,224 megawatts (11.2 gigawatts), up from 10.7 gigawatts of installed capacity in 2009 (according to the IEA). It would appear geothermal did have the lead sometime in 2010, but comparing the sectors’ growth rates is not flattering to geothermal. (Geothermal obviously has an advantage when it comes to generating kilowatt-hours due to its higher capacity factor.)
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