World Bank - IGA Project: Development of Global Standards

Project background and rationale

Energy stakeholders believe that the lack of clear global guidelines and standards is holding back the assessment and development of geothermal energy as a viable option at a global scale. The planning and funding of energy infrastructure is based, to a large extent, on the comparative potential of

different energy options in different locations. Therefore, a proper comparison of those options requires globally consistent methods of assessing and classifying energy potential.

The Project aims to standardize the terminology and guidelines for the estimation and reporting of geothermal energy resources. Key target groups of the project outcomes include companies, governments and investors. Standardized assessments and reporting guidelines are seen essential for collating and maintaining reliable national resource inventories and sustainable resource management. Informed investment decisions require that resource and reserve estimates for different investment options are reported using the same methodology, preferably the same metric, and with full disclosure of the quality of data underpinning the resource estimates.

Besides the IGA Service Company also the IGA Resources and Reserves Committee is an important entity within the framework of this project. The Committee will - also on a longer term basis - oversee the technical work related to the development and updating of standardized global terminology and classification systems for geothermal energy.

The project has three goals:

Goal 1 – Preparation of a ‘Glossary’ of terms related to geothermal resources and reserves, including those defined under Goal 2 and Goal 3 below.

Goal 2 – Preparation of a ‘Catalog of Geothermal Play Types’ based on geological criteria, which can be used as a basis for describing known geothermal systems, discovering new systems and guiding efficient exploration and development of those systems.

Goal 3 – Development and assessment of standard schemes for classifying, comparing and reporting estimates of geothermal potential, resources and reserves.

The IGA plans to present the results from each project goal at the World Geothermal Congress (WGC) in Melbourne in April 2015. Subsequent to the WGC 2015, the IGA intends to convene a series of workshops to promote and disseminate the outcomes in different geographic regions.

Resources to complete the work come from a combination of IGA resources, in-kind contributions from IGA members and financial support from external agencies, among them the World Bank ESMAP.

MoU signed between the IGA and UNECE

In September 2014 the IGA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The MoU entails the development of a globally applicable harmonized standard for reporting geothermal resources. Such a standard will ensure greater consistency and transparency in financial reporting and enhance the management of geothermal resources (see IGA online announcement:

Workshop on a 'Globally consistent Classification System for Geothermal Energy Resources’

Within this framework the IGA organised a workshop on a 'Globally consistent Classification System for Geothermal Energy Resources' from 8-9 December 2014 in Bonn, Germany. The event was financially supported through the World Bank and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 20 renown international geothermal experts from all geographical regions attended the workshop. The workshop agenda is available for download.

Workshop aims were as follows:

  • To familiarize participants with technology-specific rules ('specifications') for the application of the United Nations Framework for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC) to geothermal resources,
  • To become familiar with the work of the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Classification, and
  • To start drafting the geothermal specifications for the UNFC in a separate IGA working group.