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Geothermal has great potential as renewable energy source: Iceland FM

Sep 26, 2009 - Xinhua

Iceland's Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson said Saturday that geothermal has a great potential as a renewable energy source in many parts of the world.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly's general debate, Skarphedinsson made an example of his country's successful transformation to a nation that employs renewables to meet most of its energy needs.

"A generation ago, we were as dependent on imported fossil fuel as any other nation," he said. "A generation later, 80 percent of our energy needs are met by renewables. All our heating, all our electricity is 100 percent renewable."

"What we did was to use the treasures that were under our feet, and before our very eyes: Hydro and geothermal. What we did, others can do," said the minister.

Skarphedinsson underscored the "vastly underestimated possibilities in geothermal."

"Many of the countries of the African Rift Valley have similar potential as Iceland does. In South-East Asia we have the greatest geothermal potential in the world. Latin America has valuable potential too," he said.

"Many of these countries could, for example with Icelandic expertise, achieve a clean energy transformation," he said. "What we need is a global climatic fund to transfer renewable technologies to the developing countries to enable them to continue growing - on a sustainable, renewable basis."

"Our Icelandic expertise is available," he said, adding that despite its present difficulties, Iceland has kept open the geothermal training program of the United Nations University in Iceland.