This classification system is designed to encourage investment in geothermal projects.
The classification scheme was discussed at a workshop recently held in St. Lucia by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Geothermal Association and the World Bank.
The scheme, the ‘United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) to Geothermal Energy Resources and Reserves’ is a harmonised framework to quality estimates of extractable energy for geothermal projects. Various characteristics are taken into account, including economic viability, technical feasibility and geological confidence.
“There is a dire need to make geothermal attractive to a broader category of investors”, said IRENA’s Abdulmalik Oricha Ali, “-especially equity investors, who are often not geologists or renewable energy experts, for that matter, and have no sentiments or mandates to invest in a specific region”.
This new categorisation system will be useful, considering the difficulties in the Caribbean region in accessing geothermal energy due to high exploration costs and a corresponding lack of investment certainty.