Geothermal Revolution Transforming Developing Countries’ Energy Sector

The Potential of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy harnesses heat from the Earth’s core to generate power. Unlike fossil fuels, it is a renewable resource that produces minimal greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries, with their abundant geothermal resources, are witnessing a surge in geothermal projects, making strides in energy generation and sustainable development.

Let’s delve into the reasons why geothermal energy is transforming the energy sector in developing countries:

Abundance of Geothermal Resources

Developing countries are often located in regions with extensive geothermal resources. Countries like Kenya, Indonesia, and the Philippines are blessed with vast geothermal potential due to their geological characteristics. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that the geothermal potential in developing countries is around 2,000 gigawatts, enough to power millions of homes. Leveraging this resource can significantly reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and increase energy access.

Reliability and Baseload Power

Geothermal energy offers a reliable and consistent power supply, making it an ideal source for baseload power. Unlike solar or wind energy, geothermal power plants can produce electricity continuously, regardless of weather conditions. This stability is crucial for developing countries seeking to strengthen their energy infrastructure and meet rapidly growing energy demands.

Cost Efficiency

While upfront costs for geothermal power plants can be high, the long-term economic benefits are substantial. According to IRENA, geothermal energy costs are comparable to other renewable sources and remain stable over time. Additionally, once the initial investment is recouped, geothermal projects can provide affordable electricity, promoting economic growth and reducing dependency on expensive imported fuels.

Job Creation and Local Development

Geothermal projects offer significant opportunities for job creation and local development. The construction and operation of geothermal power plants require a skilled workforce, providing employment in rural areas. The revenue generated from geothermal projects can also be reinvested in local communities, supporting education, healthcare, and other social services.

Case Studies: Geothermal Success Stories

Several developing countries have embraced geothermal energy and are reaping its benefits. Here are some noteworthy success stories:


Kenya is a pioneer in the geothermal energy sector, boasting the largest geothermal capacity in Africa. With its ambitious geothermal development plan, Kenya has expanded its geothermal capacity from a mere 45 megawatts (MW) in 2008 to over 810 MW in 2020. Geothermal power now constitutes approximately 29% of Kenya’s total installed capacity, displacing fossil fuel dependency and powering economic growth.


Indonesia is another emerging geothermal powerhouse. The country has an estimated geothermal potential of 29 gigawatts (GW), but only 2 GW has been tapped so far. Recognizing the vast untapped potential, the Indonesian government has set a target to achieve 2 GW of geothermal capacity by 202 The development of geothermal projects in Indonesia has not only reduced greenhouse gas emissions but also addressed the issue of energy access, particularly in remote areas.


The Philippines is often hailed as a geothermal success story, being the second-largest producer of geothermal energy globally. Geothermal power accounts for approximately 13% of the country’s electricity generation. The Philippine government aims to increase geothermal capacity to 5 GW by 2030. Geothermal projects in the Philippines have not only bolstered energy security but have also created jobs and attracted investments in related industries.


The geothermal revolution is transforming the energy sector in developing countries, offering a sustainable pathway to economic growth and energy security. With abundant geothermal resources, reliable baseload power, cost efficiency, and job creation opportunities, geothermal energy is unlocking new possibilities for these nations. As more countries embrace this renewable source, the world moves closer to achieving a cleaner and more sustainable future.

For more information on geothermal energy and its potential, visit IRENA Publications.

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