Global Energy Monitor

Architecture

Global Energy Monitor’s Global Geothermal Power Tracker uses a two-level system for organizing information, consisting of both a database and wiki pages with further information. The database tracks individual geothermal power plant units and includes information such as project owner, status, installation type, and location. A wiki page for each project is created within the Global Energy Monitor wiki. The database and wiki pages are updated annually.

Inclusion Criteria

The Global Geothermal Power Tracker covers electricity generating projects. Geothermal projects for electricity in captive industry are also included. The Global Geothermal Power Tracker aims to comprehensively track all project units 30 MW or larger globally. Below threshold projects are also included for some countries. Geothermal heat plants that do not also generate at least 30 MW of electricity are not included.

Status Categories

Announced: Proposed projects that have been described in corporate or government plans, or in media releases but have not yet taken concrete steps such as applying for permits.

Pre-construction: Projects that are actively moving forward in seeking governmental approvals, land rights, or financing.

Construction: Site preparation and equipment installation are underway.

Operating: The project has been formally commissioned; commercial operation has begun.

Shelved: Suspension of the project operation has been announced.

Shelved – inferred 2 y: The project is inferred to be shelved because, or no progress has been observed for at least two years.

Cancelled: A cancellation announcement has been made.

Cancelled – inferred 4 y: The project is inferred to be cancelled because, or no progress has been observed for at least four years.

Retired: The project has been decommissioned.

Mothballed: The project is disused, but not dismantled.

Type Categories

Dry Steam: Projects that use steam directly from a geothermal reservoir to turn a turbine.

Flash Steam: Projects that take high-pressure hot water from deep inside the earth and convert, “flash”, it into steam and water. The steam is then used to drive a turbine generator. 

  • Single: Projects where the high-pressure geothermal fluid is converted to steam only once.
  • Double: Includes projects where the remaining water after the first flash is still warm enough to flash again and used to run a second, low-pressure steam turbine.
  • Triple: Such systems use three flashes to generate three different steam pressures: high, intermediate, and low. The steam flows are then used to rotate two or more turbines which generate electricity.
  • Unknown: The project uses flash steam technology, but the number of flashes is not specified.

Binary Cycle: Projects that transfer the heat from geothermal fluid to another liquid. The heat causes the second liquid to turn to steam, which is used to drive a turbin

EGS: An emerging technology that creates machine-made geothermal reservoirs in regions where there is naturally hot rock but insufficient permeability of fluid for a traditional geothermal power plant.

Unknown: The type of geothermal power is not specified

Research Process

The Global Geothermal Power Tracker data set draws on various public data sources, including:

  • Government data on individual power geothermal projects (such as Mexico’s Sistema de Información Energética database and the U.S. EIA 860 Electric Generator Inventory), country energy and resource plans, and government websites tracking project permits and applications;
  • Reports by power companies (both state-owned and private);
  • News and media reports;
  • Local non-governmental organizations tracking geothermal projects or permits.

A list of major data sources can be found here.

Global Energy Monitor researchers perform data validation by comparing our dataset against proprietary and public data such as S&P Global’s World Electric Power Plant Database (WEPP) and the World Resource Institute’s Global Power Plant Database, as well as various company and government sources.

Wiki Pages

For each geothermal project, a wiki page is created on Global Energy Monitor’s wiki. Under standard wiki convention, all information is linked to a publicly-accessible published reference, such as a news article, company or government report, or a regulatory permit. In order to ensure data integrity in the open-access wiki environment, Global Energy Monitor researchers review all edits of project wiki pages.

Mapping

To allow easy public access to the results, Global Energy Monitor worked with Earth Genome to develop a map-based and table-based interface. In the case of exact coordinates, locations have been visually determined using Google Maps, Google Earth, Wikimapia, or OpenStreetMap. Exact locations for proposed projects, if available, are obtained from sources such as permit applications, other government documentation, or company reports. If the location of a geothermal project or proposal is not known, Global Energy Monitor identifies the most accurate location possible based on available information.

Global Geothermal Power Tracker Change Log

May 2024

  • This update covers all regions of the globe, and uses the United Nations’ Statistics Division definitions of region and subregion. 
  • Some units below the 30 MW global threshold are provided for some countries when the data were readily available. 
  • A new data field has been added to indicate when a project phase is dedicated for green hydrogen production. 
  • The May 2024 release includes the change from the column name “Country” to “Country/Area”.
  • GEM ID formats have changed from an L7+5 digit number to L1+11 digit number for location IDs and a G7+5 digit number to a G1+11 digit number. Previous GEM ID numbers have been preserved. For example, a previous GEM ID of L812345 is now L100000812345
  • Shelved and cancelled statuses have been broken down into two subcategories depending on if there was an announcement of delay or cancellation, or if the status is inferred by lack of observed progress.

July 2023

  • Qualitative notes on employment numbers related to construction or operation of the project have been included for some project units.
  • Project units below the 30 MW global threshold are provided for some countries when the data were readily available.

January 2023

  • The Global Geothermal Power Tracker has replaced the word “development” in the status domain with the term “pre-construction” to support consistent language across all of Global Energy Monitor’s trackers. The definition of “pre-construction” is consistent with the tracker’s previous definition of “development.”
  • Global Energy Monitor has transitioned to using the United Nations” region and subregion definitions.
  • Global Energy Monitor has adopted the name “Türkiye” as a replacement for “Turkey.”