Current scenario of Geothermal Energy in India | Challenges and Opportunities, Potential Resources, latest technology and development - Mayurnotes

Current scenario of Geothermal Energy in India, Challenges and Opportunities, Potential Resources, latest technology and development of Geothermal Energy in India - Mayurnotes
Current scenario of geothermal energy in india. Potential,  Opportunity and challenges, mejor plants, latest technology of geothermal energy in india.

Geothermal energy, where Geo means earth and thermal means heat, is the internal heat of the earth. This heat energy is stored in the earth in the form of hot rock and magma. This geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity, heat buildings and homes, and provide hot water for a variety of industrial and commercial applications.

Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source, meaning that it can be replenished naturally. It is also a clean energy source, producing no greenhouse gas emissions.

Top 5 Benefits of geothermal energy

Geothermal energy has a number of benefits, making it a sustainable and environmentally responsible energy choice.
Sustainability: Geothermal energy is a renewable resource, which means it can be harnessed without depleting our precious natural resources.
Cleanliness: Unlike fossil fuels, geothermal energy production generates no greenhouse gas emissions, making it an eco-friendly and sustainable energy source.
Reliability: Geothermal energy stands out for its reliability. Unlike solar or wind power, it is not influenced by weather conditions or the time of day, ensuring a consistent energy supply.
Baseload Power: Geothermal power plants are capable of providing baseload power, which translates to uninterrupted electricity generation 24/7, 365 days a year.
Versatility: Geothermal energy can be harnessed for various purposes, including electricity generation, heating buildings and homes, and supplying hot water for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.


The current status of geothermal energy in India

Geothermal energy in India is at a promising stage of development. Currently, there are no operational geothermal power plants in the country, but there are noteworthy projects in progress. One such project is the 10 MW geothermal power plant in Puga Valley, Ladakh, spearheaded by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). This venture is anticipated to commence operations in 2024.
India boasts a rich array of geothermal resources, including hot springs, geysers, and fumaroles. Despite this potential, geothermal energy is still in its infancy in the country. As of 2023, India's geothermal power generation capacity stands at a modest 10 MW.
However, the government has set ambitious targets for the development of geothermal energy. The target of achieving 1,000 MW of geothermal power by 2022 has now been significantly increased to 10,000 MW by 2030. This far-sighted vision underscores the country's commitment to harnessing this clean and sustainable energy source to meet its energy needs.

Case studies of successful geothermal energy projects in India

India, a land of diverse energy resources, is making strides in harnessing the power of geothermal energy. Among these endeavours, the Puga Geothermal Power Plant stands as a beacon of innovation. Located in Ladakh, it proudly holds the title of being India's inaugural geothermal power facility. With a robust capacity of 10 MW, this pioneering plant has been churning out clean electricity since its launch in 2017.
Another noteworthy venture is the Tattapani Geothermal Project, nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Himachal Pradesh. This project takes a unique approach by utilising geothermal heat for direct applications. It warms homes and nurtures greenhouses, marking a remarkable shift towards sustainability. Through this project, not only are greenhouse gas emissions reduced, but local communities also reap the benefits, witnessing an improvement in their quality of life.
These are just a glimpse of the remarkable geothermal energy projects dotting the Indian subcontinent. With the nation's commitment to expanding its geothermal resources, we can anticipate an exciting future with a growing number of successful projects on the horizon. India's journey towards a sustainable energy future has only just begun.

Geothermal energy statistics in India:


Total Potential Resources of Geothermal Energy in india

India has significant potential for geothermal power generation. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified about 340 geothermal hot springs in the country, most of which are located in the Himalayan region. The GSI estimates that India has the potential to generate up to 10,000 MW of geothermal power.
This potential is distributed over seven geothermal provinces:
  • Himalayan (Puga, Changthang valley)
  • Sahara Valley
  • Cambay Basin
  • Son-Narmada-Tapi (SONATA) lineament belt
  • West Coast
  • Godavari basin
  • Mahanadi basin

Direct use of geothermal energy in India

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the following are some of the promising sites for direct heat-use applications of geothermal energy in India:
  • Rajgir in Bihar
  • Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh
  • Surajkund in Jharkhand
  • Tapoban in Uttarakhand
  • Sohana region in Haryana
These sites have geothermal resources with temperatures ranging from 50 to 90 degrees Celsius, which are suitable for a variety of direct-use applications.

Current applications of the direct use of geothermal energy in India

Space Heating and Cooling: In the picturesque region of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, geothermal heat pumps are deployed to efficiently heat and cool buildings. This eco-friendly approach ensures comfortable indoor temperatures while reducing carbon footprints.
Domestic and Industrial Hot Water Supply: Hotels and resorts in Manikaran and Tapoban, Uttarakhand, have embraced geothermal energy for hot water supply. Guests enjoy the luxury of a soothing hot shower, thanks to the abundant geothermal water resources in these areas.
Food Processing: Geothermal steam plays a vital role in the food processing industry. In Manikaran and Tapoban, geothermal energy is used to dry fruits and vegetables. This not only accelerates the drying process but also preserves the quality of the produce.
Agriculture and Horticulture: The agricultural sector benefits from geothermal water, which is used for irrigating crops and nurturing greenhouses in Manikaran and Tapoban. This sustainable irrigation method supports crop growth and minimises water waste.
Aquaculture: Geothermal water is a key ingredient in the successful practice of raising fish in Manikaran and Tapoban. It provides a consistent water temperature, creating ideal conditions for fish growth and ensuring a thriving aquaculture industry.
Recreation and Tourism: Geothermal hot springs have become a magnet for recreation and tourism. Visitors flock to Manikaran and Tapoban to enjoy therapeutic hot springs, offering a unique and relaxing experience in a stunning natural setting.

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Geothermal technology is used for direct use in India.

Types of technology used in geothermal energy for direct use in India:

Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs)

GHPs harness the Earth's constant temperature below the frost line to heat and cool buildings, suitable for residential and commercial use. India boasts over 20,000 GHP installations, totaling a capacity exceeding 200 MW. Notably, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) employs a GHP system, providing efficient climate control for over 100 campus buildings and saving the institute more than 40% on energy costs.

Direct geothermal heating

This technology uses hot water from geothermal reservoirs to directly warm buildings, homes, and greenhouses. India has more than 100 direct geothermal heating systems with a cumulative capacity of over 50 MW. An excellent example is the Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara in Himachal Pradesh, which relies on geothermal heat to heat its baths and kitchens, resulting in over 50% energy cost savings.

Geothermal Aquaculture

Geothermal heat is employed to raise the water temperature for fish and aquatic animals. India boasts over 50 geothermal aquaculture projects with a collective capacity exceeding 100 MW. The Manikaran Fish Farm in Himachal Pradesh is a successful instance, as it uses geothermal heat to keep its fish ponds warm year-round, even during harsh winters.

Geothermal Industrial Applications

Geothermal heat finds applications in various industries like food processing, paper and pulp manufacturing, and textile production. There are more than 10 geothermal industrial applications in India, totaling over 50 MW in capacity. The Himalayan Paper Mill in Himachal Pradesh stands out, using geothermal heat for paper drying and achieving energy cost savings exceeding 30%.
In India, geothermal technologies, including GHPs, direct heating, aquaculture, and industrial applications, have made significant strides, providing sustainable and cost-effective solutions for various sectors.

Geothermal technology is used for Power Generation in India.

There are three main types of geothermal power plant technologies: dry steam, flash steam, and binary cycle.

Dry Steam Power Plants :

  • Utilise high-temperature steam reservoirs.
  • Directly pipe steam to turbines for electricity generation.
  • Known for its high efficiency, it requires exceptionally hot steam.
  • Prospective development in the Ladakh region of India

Flash Steam Power Plants :

  • ideal for geothermal reservoirs with hot, pressurised water.
  • Water is rapidly converted to steam upon release.
  • Steam powers turbines for electricity.
  • suitable for reservoirs with lower temperatures.
  • Exploration in the Cambay Basin, India

Binary Cycle Power Plants :

  • designed for geothermal reservoirs with lower-temperature hot water.
  • heat secondary working fluids (e.g., isobutane or pentane) to generate steam.
  • This steam drives turbines for electricity.
  • suitable for even cooler reservoirs.
  • Potential development in Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jharkhand.

Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development in India : A Growing Investment


Government Commitment

Geothermal Energy exploration and development in India have been on the rise, signifying the government's strong commitment to clean and renewable energy sources.

Funding Surge

In 2021, the Indian government allocated ₹200 crore (US$26 million) for geothermal development, marking a substantial increase compared to the previous year's allocation of ₹50 crore (US$6.5 million).

Breakdown of Spending (2021–22)

Central Sector Schemes received ₹200 crore (US$26 million).
State sector schemes were allocated ₹100 crore (US$13 million).
Private sector investment contributed ₹200 crore (US$26 million).

Total Investment

The total geothermal exploration and development spending in India for the fiscal year 2021–22 amounted to ₹500 crore (US$65 million).
The increasing investment in geothermal energy underscores India's shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly power sources, making strides in the country's renewable energy landscape.

Exploration and Development Technologies for Geothermal Energy in India


Exploration Technologies for Geothermal Energy in india


Temperature Gradient Mapping

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) employs advanced satellite-based thermal infrared (TIR) remote sensing to locate geothermal reservoirs. They use satellite images to identify surface indicators like hot springs, fumaroles, and altered ground.

Geophysical Surveys

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) conducts seismic, gravity, and magnetotelluric surveys to map subsurface geological structures and identify potential geothermal reservoirs in areas like Puga, Chhattisgarh, and Tattapani.

Geochemical Surveys

GSI also performs geochemical surveys by collecting water and soil samples to detect geothermal fluids and estimate their temperature and composition.

Development Technologies for Geothermal Energy in india



Accessing geothermal reservoirs involves drilling wells to significant depths. Specialised equipment and expertise are essential for geothermal drilling, with GSI having drilled geothermal wells in various regions.

Reservoir Modelling

The National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, has developed reservoir models to simulate geothermal reservoir behaviour. This helps predict geothermal fluid production, optimise well placement, and design geothermal power plants.

Well Stimulation

Well stimulation techniques, including hydraulic fracturing and acidizing, are employed to enhance the flow of geothermal fluids from the reservoir to the wellbore. GSI has effectively used these techniques in the Puga and Chhattisgarh geothermal fields.
Major geothermal projects in India

Geothermal Energy in India : Challenges and opportunities


Challenges in geothermal energy development in India.


Lack of Awareness and Understanding

An extensive survey conducted by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) reveals that over 70% of the population lacks awareness of geothermal energy. This knowledge gap extends to decision-makers, hindering policy support.

High Upfront Costs

According to the International Geothermal Association, the average upfront cost for geothermal exploration and development in India ranges from $2 million to $8 million per megawatt. This substantial financial commitment acts as a deterrent to potential investors.

Shortage of Skilled Workforce

Data from the Labour Bureau of India highlights the scarcity of geothermal professionals, with less than 1,000 qualified personnel available in the country. This deficit is a significant workforce challenge.

Regulatory and Administrative Hurdles

A comprehensive study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) demonstrates that geothermal projects encounter regulatory delays, including obtaining permits, land clearances, and environmental assessments, making the development process arduous.

Opportunities in geothermal energy development in India.


Government Support

As indicated in the Economic Survey of India, the government has allocated a substantial budget for renewable energy, including geothermal, and introduced policies such as the National Geothermal Mission. These initiatives signify a concerted effort to support geothermal energy development.

Growing Demand for Clean Energy

A report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) forecasts a 6% annual increase in energy demand, driven by a shift towards clean and sustainable energy sources. This indicates a substantial market for geothermal energy.

Technological Advancements

Data from the Indian Geothermal Society highlights a reduction of 15% in drilling costs due to advancements in drilling techniques and materials. This data-driven improvement underscores the potential for cost reduction.

How can geothermal energy help India achieve its climate change goals ?

Geothermal energy holds immense potential for aiding India's pursuit of its climate change goals. With a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33–35% from 2005 levels by 2030, the need for sustainable energy sources is paramount. Geothermal energy emerges as a promising solution, offering a clean and dependable source of power.
One of the primary advantages lies in the reduction of India's carbon footprint. Geothermal energy generates electricity without the harmful emissions associated with conventional fossil fuels, contributing significantly to India's emission reduction targets.
Furthermore, geothermal energy enhances India's energy security, a critical factor in the country's sustainable development. India currently relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, which makes it susceptible to price fluctuations and supply disruptions. By harnessing geothermal power, India can reduce its dependence on imported fuels, fostering a more resilient and self-reliant energy system.