As usual in the World Geothermal Congresses, the WGC 2015 finalized with a declaration on behalf of the geothermal community that aims to reflect the status and future hopes of the sector. Here is The Melbourne Declaration.
“Geothermal in Perspective – Views from Down Under”
We are more than 1,500 members of the global geothermal community, representing more than 75 countries, who have gathered together in Melbourne, Australia, for the World Geothermal Congress 2015. We share a common interest in geothermal resources, stimulated by the promises and challenges they present. Participants have shared in short courses and field trips in New Zealand and Australia, where geothermal development and preservation initiatives provide examples from which the rest of the world can learn. We acknowledge a debt to those before us who built a solid base of knowledge and experience, as we create better outcomes for energy efficiency and delivery around the world.
Advanced economies rely on the efficient and reliable availability of energy. The energy options we currently have can be considered gifts from our ancestors. We are responsible for their sustainable management so that our endowment of natural resources can continue to meet the needs of future generations. Geothermal energy sits within a suite of clean and sustainable energy options, providing benefits beyond simple energy delivery in terms of sustaining the health of the environment in which we live.
Geothermal resources soothe bodies, warm homes and hotels, and supply heat for commerce, industry and agriculture. They provide the clean raw fuel for an expanding base of electricity generation. New opportunities are opening for the harvesting of valuable minerals carried within geothermal fluids, and for understanding the extreme life forms that survive within these fluids. Geothermal resources are indigenous; they are sustainable; their use is environmentally responsible; their high availability is largely independent of weather and climate; they displace carbon-intensive energy resources. Geothermal energy can be considered a global resource. In some places, geothermal resources already provide the most cost effective option for power and heat generation, representing a sound financial investment choice.
In spite of this, only a small fraction of the global geothermal potential has so far been realized. Many people remain unaware of the geothermal options available to them or the costs and benefits associated with these. Financial, legal, institutional and regulatory hurdles are common. To overcome these hurdles:
- We urge governments to implement policies that ensure that the environmental costs of all energy developments are internalized and reflected in their pricing;
- We urge governments to implement policies to minimize legislative and administrative barriers to geothermal development;
- We urge governments and finance agencies to work with national and international geothermal associations to disseminate accurate information about the technology, costs and performance of geothermal developments;
- We urge all parties to respect the close association of indigenous peoples with geothermal features upon and beneath their traditional lands, where such traditional relationships exist, and to negotiate with these peoples in a fair manner;
- We urge that substantial R&D funding be committed to decrease the cost of geothermal power, to extend geothermal production to lower resource temperatures and across a greater range of geological settings;
- We urge that particular effort be directed to breaking down the financial risk barrier that commonly delays drilling on new ‘green field’ geothermal projects;
- Finally, we urge governments and academic institutions to cooperate on transferring knowledge from geothermally experienced to less experienced countries, through training and education, capacity building, and technical assistance.
Through these actions, our common goal is to improve the living standards of citizens of the world through the supply of indigenous, affordable, environmentally responsible energy for generations to come, while preserving a portion of geothermal resources in an undisturbed state for all time.