Some countries, including New Zealand, have already started to take advantage of this prolific resource. The island nation of Australia's coast has developed more than 800 megawatts (MW) of geothermal capacity that accounts for about 19 percent of its energy supply, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development. However, on the other end of the horseshoe in South America, geothermal energy remains largely untapped.
Pierre Audinet, the clean energy program team leader of the World Bank's Energy Sector Management
Assistance Program, has already begun to foresee a shift in Latin American Energy dependence. "South America has an enormous perceived potential. And there is a nascent desire of many governments to actually get that potential to become a reality," explained Audinet. (renewableenergyworld.com)
In early 2013, the World Bank announced that it would establish a $500 million fund to help develop geothermal
concessions around the world. According to Audinet, the program has started to allocate money to help identify
test-drilling projects, and is zeroing in on Latin America "more than other regions," he said. (renewableenergyworld.com)
The movement is catching the attentions of numerous global geothermal corporations as well. In 2012, Alterra Power Corp., a geothermal developer based in Canada, announced a partnership with Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a Philippines-based geothermal developer, to pursue six of Alterra's geothermal concessions in South America. One of which, its Mariposa project in Chile, is moving along and could be online by 2017.
Geothermal potential in Chile and other countries situated on the Eastern loop of the Ring of Fire has always been lurking deep beneath the surface but now the international geothermal sector is finally beginning to spend time and money to turn this "geothermal dream" into a reality.