Geothermal has the potential to play a big role in a low-carbon energy transition but while deployment of wind and solar has taken off in recent years, deployment of geothermal has remained steady but unspectacular for decades. This despite the fact that it is broadly cost competitive with fossil fuel alternatives across the world and is the cheapest source of available power in some developing countries with rapidly growing energy demand.
Geothermal power is one of the leading alternatives to fossil fuel based generation given its affordability, its flexibility, and the fact it can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unlike some other forms of renewable energy. As of 2014, total global geothermal power capacity was around 12.8 GW, with the US, the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico leading in terms of generating capacity (REN21).
In the face of a major disaster that killed 8700 people, destroyed more than half a million homes, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure, Nepali people demonstrated the real meaning of resilience. Minutes after the powerful 7.6 earthquake struck on April 25, 2015, neighbors were helping one another to find safe places to shelter themselves and their families. Volunteers organized to bring relief supplies to affected mountain communities, often carrying the loads on their backs to places with no road access.
As a close to the recent FIP Pilot Country Meeting, the government of Democractic Republic of Congo arranged for the gathered delegates to visit the Ibi Bateke agro-forestry project. Situated 160KM from Kinshasa, the project has three strands: cassava production, charcoal production and carbon credits.
A couple days ago, some friends asked me about my recent trip to Democratic Republic of Congo for the Forest Investment Program (FIP). I enthused about the forest investment projects I visited, the dedicated colleagues I met, and the value of monitoring and reporting or “M&R.” Pardon? Come again? M&R? Clearly, I had lost my friends.
What do Zambia, Dominica, and Niger have in common?
All three countries are benefitting from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), a dedicated fund of the Climate Investment Funds which helps countries integrate climate resilience into development planning. To galvanize the planning process, the program also supports a range of priority investments from improving agricultural practices and food security, building climate-resilient water supplies and sanitation infrastructure, monitoring and analyzing weather data, and conducting feasibility studies for climate-resilient housing in coastal areas.
It’s work that is making a difference. I have seen first-hand how the PPCR engagement has helped bring transformative action in each of these countries. I visited Zambia and saw how communities in the Barotse sub-basin of the Zambezi floodplain are standing up to the challenges of climate change. These are communities who’ve had to deal with wild swings in weather patterns that has led to drought and the loss of maize crops on one hand while fluctuating rain patterns have challenged rice planting in another area.
Approximately one-third of Mexico’s total territory—64 million hectares— is covered by tropical and temperate forest ecosystems. It is estimated that about 10 million people live in and around forested areas, many of who directly depend on forest resources for maintaining their livelihoods1.
In Kenya, only 65% of Kenyans have access to basic energy services; however, in recent years the Kenyan government has made plans to capitalize on the country’s untapped store of geothermal electricity. Kenya’s current geothermal capacity is 241 MW, but the government hopes to increase capacity to 5,530 MW by 2030 – close to a 21-fold increase in the country’s geothermal output.
It was a welcome and a reunion. The Forest Investment Program (FIP) met in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from June 23rd to 25th, and new countries, existing countries, FIP Observers, Multilateral Development Banks, representatives from Indigenous People, the private sector, and civil society all came together to share knowledge and experiences as part of the FIP family.