Nordic financial group Glitnir has identified a huge potential for geothermal energy developments in the US following the opening of its first office in New York.
Glitnir is forecasting a potential six-fold increase in the annual sales of electricity from geothermal sources in the US from less than USD2 billion now to USD11 billion. The financial group also claims that geothermal energy could potentially meet up to 20% of California’s, 60% of Nevada’s and 30% of Hawaii’s electricity needs.
“The US is at the forefront of geothermal energy development globally, and will continue to be in the lead”, said Arni Magnusson, managing director of sustainable energy for Glitnir in a press release for the opening of the group’s New York office last week. “Geothermal – long the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ of sustainable energy – is now showing clear signs of waking up.”
Glitnir are no strangers to geothermal energy. The Nordic bank´s strength in the niche sector has been built up through years of experience in financing domestic energy projects in Iceland – a country that generates 99.9% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Glitnir’s biggest geothermal project so far has been financing the development of the world´s largest district heating utility in Xianyang, China, but it expects projects in the US to be even larger.
“We haven’t seen any big banks with a singular interest as we have. We’ve decided to narrow our focus down to geothermal and the US market is on top of the list,” said Magnusson. Glitnir estimates up to USD39.4 billion of investments are needed to develop the largely untapped geothermal energy resources in the US by 2025.
Glitnir marked the opening of the New York office by hosting its first ever geothermal energy conference – “Steam of Opportunities”, followed later by a gala dinner. Notable speakers included the President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Chairman of Glitnir Thorsteinn M. Jonsson and Glitnir CEO Larus Welding.
Glitnir Chairman Thorsteinn M. Jonsson sought to dispel any fears over the much- publicised recent ‘invasions’ of Icelandic businesses into European markets by assuring attendees that Glitnir’s aims in the US were “to do business, look for opportunities and work with local business people to create value for their and our shareholders”.
Jonsson also drew parallels with the short-lived Viking settlements in America in AD1000 and the Nordic financial group’s new foothold in the US, and he promised that “this time round [Glitnir] will stay longer than one or two winters”.
For more information on Glitnir and to download its latest US geothermal report, visit the group’s website at: www.glitnirbank.com