Geothermal training education for developing countries in Iceland

ICI 18-10-2017

The Geothermal Training Programme of the United Nations University (UNU-GTP) is a postgraduate training program, aiming at assisting developing countries in capacity building within geothermal exploration and development. The program consists of six months annual training for practicing professionals from developing and transitional countries with significant geothermal potential. Priority is given to countries where geothermal development is under way, in order to maximize technology transfer.

The first official statement on establishing a UNU geothermal institute in Iceland was made in 1975 when the United Nations University (UNU) had just been established. After a first proposal in 1976 and an international workshop in 1978, the Government of Iceland decided in October 1978 to ask Orkustofnun (the National Energy Authority (NEA)), to sign an Agreement on Association with the UNU and establish the UNU Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP). The UNU-GTP has been hosted by the NEA ever since.

The first annual training session of the UNU-GTP started in May 1979 with two UNU Fellows from the Philippines. Since then, a group of scientists and engineers from energy agencies and research organizations as well as universities in the developing countries and Central and Eastern European countries, have come to Iceland every spring to spend six months in highly specialized studies in geological exploration, borehole geology, geophysical exploration, borehole geophysics, reservoir engineering, chemistry of thermal fluids, environmental science, geothermal utilization, and drilling technology.

The development of geothermal resources requires a group of highly skilled specialists from a number of disciplines of science and engineering. Because of its diversity, geothermal energy has not been taught as a common subject at universities. The training of geothermal specialists has mainly taken place on-the-job within companies and institutions. International geothermal schools have contributed significantly in the transfer of geothermal technology, especially for the benefit of developing countries.

More recently, the UNU-GTP also offers a few successful candidates the possibility of extending their studies to MSc or PhD degrees in geothermal sciences or engineering in cooperation with the University of Iceland.

The UNU-GTP was established in the shadow of the oil crisis, when nations were looking for new and renewable energy sources in order to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons, in particular oil with its rapidly escalating prices. The current situation is somewhat similar in the sense that the international community is looking towards renewable energy sources as an alternative for the hydrocarbons in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

The UNU-GTP yearbook “Geothermal Training in Iceland 2016” has now been published on print and released online and is now available for download under publications on the webpage

Source: and



Iceland Geothermal Conference to be held in Harpa, Reykjavik on 24-26 April 2018

IGC image

Registration is now open for the 4th Iceland Geothermal Conference (IGC) will be hosted in Harpa, Reykjavik in April 2018. The conference offers an in-depth discussion of the challenges in development of the geothermal sector.  It also focuses on the business environment built on three separate themes: vision, development, and operations.

This conference in 2018 offers science trips to nearby geothermal areas and easy access to Icelandic geothermal experts.  IGC historically offers quality lectures presented by carefully selected speakers from around the world.  This conference is the home for networking where buyers and sellers get the opportunity to form new relationships that could lead to new business opportunities.  The founders of IGC are familiar of the fact that networking is the key to any good conference.

Past IGCs have been a success, with an average of 700 participants each year.  IGC is a nonprofit event sponsored by the Iceland Geothermal Cluster Initiative.  The conference was set up as an international platform for the geothermal industry and project developers, to gather and share views on how to improve the business environment for geothermal projects.

Iceland Geothermal Cluster Initiative (IGCI) is a non-profit organization which goal is to promote geothermal energy as a competitive renewable energy solution for businesses and society. Geothermal resources in general are renewable and ideally suited to supply baseload energy improving energy security and encourage growth.

The IGCI and its members take part in hosting events and workshops, receiving delegations, sharing knowledge and experience, and assist in promoting geothermal energy. The cluster participates actively in defining best practice methodology for the sector and building up international cooperation to map best practice methods across the world, as well as performing energy related analyses and publishing reports and paper.

Registration and further information about the conference can be found on the IGCI website

Furthermore a youtube video on the IGC 2018 can be seen by following this link