ADB’s loan to prove lucrative for China geothermal energy market

The Asian Development Bank, headquartered in the Philippines, has apparently revealed that it plans to offer a loan amount of close to USD 250 million to Arctic Green Energy Corp (AGE) in Iceland as well as to Sinopec Green Energy Geothermal Company (SGE). The loan incidentally, is aimed at the development of clean geothermal heat in the smog-infested region of northern China.

For the record, Sinopec Green Energy Geothermal is actually a joint venture between AGE and the Chinese oil & gas enterprise Sinopec. The current project is likely to target the region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei that is reputed to be highly smog-prone. However, SGE chairman Liu Shiliang had been quoted stating that the ultimate plan is to replicate this successful partnership across the Asian zone. With reference to the current context, industry analysts state that the project is likely to have a major impact on the regional geothermal energy market.

Apparently, a survey carried out in 2015 by the Ministry of Land and Resources revealed that shallow as well as medium-depth geothermal resources in more than 330 Chinese cities were found to be equivalent to approximately 1.9 billion tons of standard coal per year. Furthermore, delegates to China’s Parliament stated that the levels of utilized geothermal resources were close to 21 million tons of standard coal in 2017. In the light of this scenario, it is rather overt that China would want to tap geothermal resources, claim experts.

While China’s current step would prove to be beneficial for the regional geothermal energy industry, it has also been speculated that the country would even be hunting for alternative heating sources for the region.

For the uninitiated, geothermal energy derived primarily from hot underground springs, is responsible for the generation of around 25% of Iceland’s electricity. The current partnership seems to have come on the heels of China’s anti-smog campaign to develop geothermal energy across the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei turf, state analysts.