Renewable Bulk Power Sources: World Markets for Biogas and Geothermal Power Plants

Published - Jul 2003| Analyst - Michael Kujawa| Code - EGY033B
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Report Highlights

  • Total world geothermal and waste biogas capacity was 13.4 GW in 2002 and will grow at an average annual rate (AAGR) of 7.4% to 20.6 GW by 2008.
  • Revenues were $856.8 million in 2002 and, rising at an AAGR of 4.8%, are expected to exceed $1.1 billion in 2008.
  • New geothermal capacity will grow an average of 8.3% year while new waste gas capacity will rise at an 8.6% AAGR.
  • Digested mature form cattle, swine and chickens have technical potential of 20 GW.


Advances in technologies and scale, along with global environmental and economic concerns, have spurred the development and market viability of a number of renewable energy power generation technologies. The types of technologies that have reached a stage of marketability range from central power stations fueled by geothermal energy and biomass, to wind farms of massive structures, to biogas plants on a megawatt scale, and to grid-connected large scale photovoltaic arrays.

In fact, phenomenally strong growth recently has been experienced in the large wind turbine and photovoltaic industries, and biomass energy sources have come to be viewed as a companion growth industry going forward. Landfill and wastewater treatment gas power plants are becoming the norm, as are agri animal waste gas combustion generators that receive their fuel from anaerobic digesters. An important question addressed by BCC is the sustainability of these strong growth rates.

In this study, BCC pinpoints where opportunities for growth are most concentrated for each technology. It quantifies their current and future installed capacity and places a dollar value on geothermal and waste biogas-fueled power plants. It also determines the technical and market status of geothermal and biogas-fueled bulk power production equipment.

The report examines the forces driving rapid growth of the renewables markets, and characterizes and quantifies the impact of resource location, political forces, government incentives, international mandates, and environmental factors that impede or enhance markets for geothermal and landfill, wastewater treatment plant and animal waste gas-fueled power plants. The technical status of each of the technologies also is examined to determine whether trends are emerging in preferences for one technology over another, or whether technological advances were priming one technology to supercede another.


This study encompasses:

  • Geothermal and biogas energy conversion equipment markets and forecasts
  • Technology status and resource locations and magnitudes by world, region and county
  • Fiscal, environmental and political forces shaping the world markets
  • Reciprocating engines, gas turbines, microturbines, fuel cells and anaerobic digesters
  • Industry structure and top players in the markets.


BCC analyzes, by each renewable energy power production technology, the capacity shipped in 2002 and expected to be shipped by the year 2008 and in the intervening years. Our estimated value is the market value in 2002 dollars and, where appropriate, in terms of units shipped and capacity installed.

The forecasts that were generated cover world, regional, national and, where appropriate, provincial and state markets.


BCC surveyed numerous companies, consultants, and government branches to obtain data and background information for this study. Included were manufacturers of large wind turbines, photovoltaics panels and production equipment, fuel cells, microturbines, turbines, small turbines, and reciprocating engines, ocean wave, tidal and thermal energy conversion devices, and manufacturers and vendors of biomass gasifiers and small hydro equipment. We also spoke with green power marketers, permitting specialists, project developers, landfill and project engineering firms, government regulators and researchers, bankers and venture capitalists. In addition, we compiled data from financial and trade information, government sources and technical societies. Extensive use was made of World Wide Web sources in order to develop a comprehensive, quantitative view of world markets in as efficiency a manner as possible.


Michael Kujawa is an associate analyst for BCC Research. He has authored reports on markets for large wind turbines, distributed generation technologies, U.S. power markets during deregulation, cogeneration equipment, fuel cells and photovoltaics. He has a background in aerospace technologies, marine operations simulation research and wind project development. Mr. Kujawa published a study of the wind regime over the south shore of Long Island, New York, in 1983 and has been acting in a consultant role to companies seeking to develop the wind resource on Long Island and surrounding waters for over 2 decades. He also recently acted as a development executive for a startup company engaged in the distributed generation on the East Coast, the Caribbean and South America.

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Published - Jan-2003| Analyst - Michael Kujawa| Code - EGY033A

Report Highlights

  • Conventional fossil fueled, nuclear and large hydro plants still provide 98% of world electricity supplies.
  • Large wind turbine factories are now operating in all but a handful of western European countries, in North America, Asia, Australia and Latin America.
  • A frantic pace of development projects will resume in the U.S. in 2003 ahead of the expiration date of the Production Tax Credit (12-31-03).
  • Before 2010, large wind turbines will account for a quarter of all new bulk power production capacity installed annually worldwide.
  • The majority of Kyoto CDM projects seem destined to go to China.


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