ABS Energy Research has reported that 2009 was a poor year for the geothermal sector globally with only 405MW of new installed electric capacity, and the sector is expected to grow rapidly in several countries between 2010 and 2015 due to current and proposed incentives.

The newly released sixth edition of the Geothermal Report from ABS Energy predicts that the world geothermal market will grow by 78% from 10,711MW of capacity at the end of 2009 to 19,016MW in 2015.

ABS Energy managing director Max Krangle said that 2009 was not a good year for the geothermal sector and only ten projects were commissioned in the US (181MW), Indonesia (137MW), Turkey (47MW) and Italy (40MW).

"Investment was down due to the high capital costs for and high financial risks in the development stages," Max said.

The company expects the Kenyan market to experience strong growth, and the recent formation of the Geothermal Development Company by the Kenyan government will fast track several geothermal projects.

In addition, most countries in the Rift Valley region are expected to shift from hydro to geothermal energy due to prolonged droughts reducing the installed capacity of hydro projects.

Like other developing countries, projects in this region could be recipients of clean development mechanism funds for carbon abatement.

With the planned commissioning of four electricity links in East Africa in the next five years, the export of excess electricity generated from geothermal could be another significant source of revenue, the company said.