Use of geothermal power could increase by 134 percent between 2010 and 2020, going from 10.7 gigawatts (GW) to 25.1 GW, according to a forecast scenario in a recent report from Pike Research. Under more conservative forecasts, the same report estimates a 34 percent increase, to 14.3 GW by 2020.

“Worldwide potential for geothermal energy is immense,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus, “but geothermal remains an underutilized resource and represents only a small fraction of the global renewable energy portfolio. Improved access to resource data, more efficient drilling processes, increased understanding about the industry’s potential, and improving access to financing are driving expanding interest in the sector.”

According to Asmus, the current capacity is spread across 26 countries, with the United States leading with 3.1 GW of installed capacity. In all, seven countries represent 88 percent of the world market, according to Pike Research.

In calculating the high-growth forecast, the report, “Geothermal Power,” assumes continued increase and volatility in the price of oil, tightening carbon regulations, improved access to capital, standardization of geothermal exploration data, contribution from enhanced geothermal systems, technological breakthroughs in exploration and drilling equipment, and improved access to drills and skilled labor.

An executive summary of the report is available for free at pikeresearch.com/research/geothermal-power. The full report is available for purchase.