New Zealand has become the newest member of the Global Geothermal Alliance, the country’s Energy and Resources Minister has announced.

On the sidelines of the Climate Change conference in Paris, Simon Bridges said that joining the alliance would help "position New Zealand firms to benefit from geothermal projects and partnerships around the world".

New Zealand currently has geothermal experts operating around the world including the Philippines, Indonesia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Bridges said. "We have a very unique value proposition and advantage in geothermal. New Zealand has a long and successful history in the development of geothermal resources, with the first plant established still providing a reliable electricity source over 50 years later.

"We are now the fourth largest geothermal power generator in the world, after the United States, the Philippines and Indonesia.

"As the world transitions towards a lower carbon future, the increased demand for renewable energy, coupled with the ongoing interest in energy security, has focused attention on geothermal energy. Worldwide installed capacity is forecast to double this decade."

The Global Geothermal Alliance is an initiative led by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) designed to increase geothermal energy use around the world. Its objectives include reducing risks and encouraging geothermal investment.

Its existing members include Chile, Kenya, Fiji, France, Egypt, the USA and Bolivia.