What Country Uses The Most Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal energy is a renewable, sustainable energy source generated using heat from the Earth. It is considered a clean energy source that can provide a consistent supply of electricity and heating. Geothermal energy has several advantages over other renewable energy sources like wind and solar power because it is not affected by weather or sunlight availability. It is an important part of the global transition to clean energy.

This article will explore which country uses the most geothermal energy. Discovering which nations are leading the way in geothermal generation can provide insights into the future of this energy source worldwide.

What is Geothermal Energy?

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), geothermal energy is heat from the earth that can be accessed for heat and electricity generation using hot water or steam reservoirs that exist naturally deep underground or creating reservoirs by injecting water into dry rocks (“Geothermal explained,” [1]). Geothermal resources exist because heat is continuously produced in the earth’s core from radioactive decay. This heat is conducted up through the earth’s crust, which explains why the temperature rises as you go deeper underground.

Geothermal energy systems tap into this underground heat to supply energy services directly from the earth. There are three main types: hydrothermal systems where hot water or steam are accessed by drilling; enhanced geothermal systems where reservoirs are engineered in dry rocks; and geothermal heat pumps that make use of shallow ground energy transfer. Geothermal energy is considered renewable because the heat is continuously replenished. The geothermal gradient ensures a steady and essentially limitless heat supply.

Some key advantages of geothermal energy are that it provides a stable baseload power source not dependent on weather, produces near zero emissions, and requires a small land footprint per kWh generated. However, geothermal systems have high upfront capital costs and specific siting requirements. Reservoir depletion can also occur over decades of continuous use if the rate of energy extraction exceeds the natural rate of heat replenishment. Overall though, geothermal offers a clean, renewable source of reliable energy when applied appropriately.

[1] “Geothermal explained.” EIA, www.eia.gov/energyexplained/geothermal.

Top Countries Using Geothermal

The top countries using geothermal energy for power generation based on installed capacity are:

  1. United States – 3,794 MW (ThinkGeoEnergy)
  2. Indonesia – 2,356 MW (ThinkGeoEnergy)
  3. Philippines – 1,904 MW (ThinkGeoEnergy)
  4. Turkey – 1,500 MW (ThinkGeoEnergy)
  5. New Zealand – 1,000 MW (ThinkGeoEnergy)

USA Geothermal Energy Use

The United States is the world leader in geothermal electricity generation according to an article from the US Energy Information Administration. In 2022, geothermal power plants in seven US states produced about 17 billion kilowatthours of electricity, which was around 0.4% of total US utility-scale generation. California generates the most geothermal electricity by far, accounting for over 75% of US geothermal generation in 2021.

According to the Center for Sustainable Systems, the installed geothermal electricity generation capacity in the US was over 3.7 GW in 2020. In addition to electricity generation, geothermal energy is used directly for heating and cooling, aquaculture, agriculture, industrial applications and more. The US has tremendous geothermal resources, especially in western states, that have yet to be developed.

Some key facts about geothermal energy use in the US:

  • Over 16 billion kWh of electricity generated from geothermal in 2021
  • California accounted for over 75% of US geothermal electricity generation
  • Installed geothermal electricity capacity exceeded 3.7 GW in 2020
  • Significant potential remains undeveloped, especially in western states

Indonesia Geothermal Energy Use

Indonesia is the world leader in geothermal electricity generation. The country produces over 14 gigawatts of power from geothermal, meeting about 5% of the national electricity demand. Indonesia has around 40% of the world’s total geothermal resources, estimated at 28 gigawatts. The country has the largest single geothermal power plant complex at Kamojang on the island of Java with over 200 megawatts of capacity. Other major geothermal sites in Indonesia include Sarulla, Wayang Windu, Darajat, Salak, and Bedugul. The Indonesian government aims to produce over 7,000 megawatts from geothermal by 2025 as part of its renewable energy push. However, there are challenges with high upfront costs of geothermal and regulatory issues that have slowed down growth. But Indonesia’s vast potential and supportive policies make it likely to remain the global leader in geothermal energy utilization.

Philippines Geothermal Energy Use

The Philippines is one of the top producers of geothermal energy in the world. According to Statista, the total installed capacity of geothermal power plants in the Philippines was 1.93 GW in 2021, representing about 18% of the country’s total power generation capacity. The Philippines has the second largest geothermal capacity in the world after the United States.

Most of the geothermal plants are located in volcanic areas near Tiwi and Makban in Luzon, Tongonan in Leyte, and Palinpinon in Negros. The Philippine government has actively promoted geothermal energy development through incentives like tax holidays and royalty reductions. Major geothermal fields are operated by companies like Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and AboitizPower.

According to GlobalData, the cumulative installed geothermal capacity increased from 1,916 MW in 2017 to 1,928 MW in 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate of 0.2%. While capacity grew slowly over those years, geothermal still provides an important baseload power source for the islands of the Philippines.

With vast untapped potential across the country, experts estimate the Philippines could produce up to 2,600 MW of geothermal power. The government aims to further develop geothermal resources to provide clean, renewable energy and support energy independence.

Iceland Geothermal Energy Use

Iceland is a global leader in using geothermal energy. According to the Icelandic government, about 85% of all houses in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy. The country generates over 20% of its electricity from geothermal sources.

In 2015, Iceland’s total electricity consumption was 18,798 GWh, of which 3,800 GWh came from geothermal energy, according to Wikipedia. This means geothermal accounted for over 20% of Iceland’s electricity generation. Iceland has taken advantage of its unique geology to tap into abundant geothermal resources. There are nearly 600 hot springs and over 200 volcanoes located across the country.

According to Visit Iceland, the country generates 73% of its electricity from hydropower and 26.8% from geothermal sources. Geothermal not only provides electricity, but also heats water that gets piped into Icelanders’ homes. This allows them to avoid burning fossil fuels for heat and hot water.

Iceland is an exemplary model of a country utilizing its natural geothermal resources. The country has managed to provide the vast majority of its heating and electricity needs through clean, renewable geothermal power.

New Zealand Geothermal Energy Use

New Zealand has a long history of using geothermal energy thanks to the country’s location along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, which provides access to significant geothermal resources. As of 2022, geothermal power accounted for approximately 18% of New Zealand’s total electricity generation according to EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) [1]. This amounts to around 8,000 GWh annually based on statistics from Statista [2].

There are 18 major geothermal power stations located across the central North Island that tap into the country’s substantial geothermal fields and reservoirs [3]. Significant geothermal developments include the Waikato region, Taupo Volcanic Zone, and themes region near Rotorua. The main locations for geothermal plants are the Taupo Volcanic Zone, Ngawha (Northland), and Ngāwhā (Bay of Plenty).

With over 40% of the potential geothermal resources still undeveloped, New Zealand has significant room to expand its use of geothermal power to meet electricity demand and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The country’s abundant geothermal reservoirs provide a stable, renewable baseload energy source.

Future Outlook

The future possibilities for geothermal energy look bright, as many experts predict it will play an increasingly important role in the world’s renewable energy landscape. According to https://science.howstuffworks.com, geothermal is expected to play a major role because technology and techniques for harnessing it are improving. For example, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) allow us to extract heat from areas without natural geothermal reservoirs by injecting water deep underground to be heated and brought back up.

With more research and investment into EGS, https://www.cralloys.com notes geothermal energy production could increase dramatically. Additionally, binary cycle power plants are increasing efficiency by using heat exchangers and secondary fluids with lower boiling points than water. Advancements like these can allow geothermal to be viable in many more locations.

Some predictions for the growth of geothermal according to https://e360.yale.edu include: doubling geothermal capacity globally by 2040, providing 10% of US electricity by 2050, and meeting more than 20% of Europe’s power needs by 2050. With further research and investment, geothermal looks poised to grow substantially as a renewable baseload power source.


Indonesia is the world’s leading user of geothermal energy, with the United States, the Philippines, and Iceland rounding out the top countries. Indonesia possesses around 40% of the world’s total geothermal resources and generates over 5,600 MW of power from geothermal, meeting about 5% of the country’s electricity needs. The abundant geothermal capacity in Indonesia is due to its location along the infamous Ring of Fire, a seismically active belt home to over 100 active volcanoes.

While Indonesia leads geothermal utilization today, continuing growth and technological improvements could allow other countries to increase their geothermal energy production in the future. Iceland and New Zealand notably produce large shares of their electricity from geothermal sources already, and have the potential for further expansion. Overall, geothermal remains an underutilized renewable resource worldwide, representing just 0.3% of global energy despite its potential availability across nations with geologically suitable conditions.

With geothermal offering a clean and consistent baseload power source, further development of geothermal capabilities can play an important role in the global transition to renewable energy and reduced carbon emissions. Indonesia is on track to maintain its lead, but steady adoption of geothermal worldwide will help drive growth toward a more sustainable energy mix over the coming decades.

Similar Posts