Analysis of geothermal energy as an alternative source for fossil fuel from the economic and environmental point of view: A case study in Iraq

Document Type : Reviewers


1 College of Islamic Science, Ahl Al Bayt University, Kerbala, Iraq

2 College of Medical Technology, Medical Lab techniques, Al-Farahidi University, Iraq

3 Accounting Department, Al-Mustaqbal University College, Babylon, Iraq

4 Industrial Management, Al-Nisour University College, Baghdad, Iraq

5 Mazaya University College, Iraq

6 Al-Hadi University College, Baghdad, Iraq

7 Department of Pharmacy, Ashur University College, Baghdad, Iraq

8 Belgorod State National Research University, Russian Federation

9 Peoples Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) Moscow, Russia



In the field of electricity production, factors such as the restricted availability of investment resources and the state of the surrounding environment are among the most significant factors that influence this process. Minimizing the cost and the harmful effects of the environment has always been and will be the concern of experts. The method of generating electricity using geothermal power plants is being highlighted due to the gravity of the issue of environmental protection as well as the security of electricity. Obviously, the resources necessary for investment in our country are overshadowed by environmental issues. Now, the main question is whether it is possible to replace fossil power plants with geothermal ones, or at least in the future? Given the high cost of electricity production by geothermal power plants and the state of electricity production costs in the country, this study tried to do an economic study of the aforementioned issue, taking into account the social costs. In this study, the total cost of electricity generation per kilowatt hour (kWh) in each of the power plants has been calculated. Then, a necessary evaluation has been made taking into account the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel power plants along with the imposed external costs. At the end, it was found that the production of electricity by geothermal power plants is not economically justified, compared to fossil power plants in scenarios 1 and 2. However, this can be taken into consideration in scenario 3, and it is economic in scenarios 4 and 5. Finally, it seems  using energy from fossil power plants based on scenarios 1 and 2 will not be economically justified in the not-too-distant future given the rise in electricity demand, the scarcity of fossil resources, and the high level of pollution from these sources.


Alhamid, MI, Daud, Y, Surachman, A, Sugiyono, A, Aditya, HB, & Mahlia, TMI 2016, Potential of geothermal energy for electricity generation in Indonesia: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 53:733-740.
Al-Kayiem, HH, & Mohammad, ST 2019, Potential of renewable energy resources with an emphasis on solar power in Iraq: An outlook. Resources, 8:42.
Afshar, A, Soleimanian, E, Akbari Variani, H, Vahabzadeh, M & Molajou, A 2022, The conceptual framework to determine interrelations and interactions for holistic Water, Energy, and Food Nexus. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 24: 10119-10140.
Bąk, I, Tarczyńska-\Luniewska, M, Barwińska-Ma\lajowicz, A, Hydzik, P, & Kusz, D 2022, Is energy use in the EU countries moving toward sustainable development? Energies, 15:6009.
Bayer, P, Attard, G, Blum, P, & Menberg, K 2019, The geothermal potential of cities. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 106:17-30.
Dwita Silambi, E 2019, Legal aspects on the utilization of geothermal in Indonesia. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, 10.
Eisenmenger, N, Pichler, M, Krenmayr, N, Noll, D, Plank, B, Schalmann, E, Wandl, M-T, & Gingrich, S 2020, The Sustainable Development Goals prioritize economic growth over sustainable resource use: a critical reflection on the SDGs from a socio-ecological perspective. Sustainability Science, 15:1101-1110.
Greenstone, M, & Looney, A 2012, Paying too much for energy? The true costs of our energy choices. Daedalus, 141: 10-30.
Hao, L-N, Umar, M, Khan, Z, & Ali, W 2021, Green growth and low carbon emission in G7 countries: how critical the network of environmental taxes, renewable energy and human capital is? Science of The Total Environment, 752:141853.
Hasan, A, Mugdadi, B, Moh’d A, AN & Tashtoush, B 2022, Direct and indirect utilization of thermal energy for cooling generation: A comparative analysis. Energy, 238: 122046.
Hasheminasab, H, Hashemkhani Zolfani, S, Kazimieras Zavadskas, E, Kharrazi, M, & Skare, M 2022, A circular economy model for fossil fuel sustainable decisions based on MADM techniques. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 35: 564-582.
Hohmeyer, O 2012, Social costs of energy consumption: external effects of electricity generation in the Federal Republic of Germany. Springer Science & Business Media.
Kaygusuz, K 2012, Energy for sustainable development: A case of developing countries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16: 1116-1126.
Martins, F, Felgueiras, C, Smitkova, M & Caetano, N 2019, Analysis of fossil fuel energy consumption and environmental impacts in European countries. Energies, 12: 964.
Masoudi, N, Dahmardeh Ghaleno, N & Esfandiari, M 2020, Investigating the impacts of technological innovation and renewable energy on environmental pollution in countries selected by the International Renewable Energy Agency: A quantile regression approach. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 18: 97-107.
Meng, D, Liu, Q, & Ji, Z 2022, Effects of two-phase expander on the thermoeconomics of organic double-flash cycles for geothermal power generation. Energy, 239: 122346.
Mobaseri, M, Mousavi, SN & Mousavi Haghighi, MH 2021, Causal effects of population growth on energy utilization and environmental pollution: A system dynamics approach. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences, 19: 601-618.
Molajou, A, Afshar, A, Khosravi, M, Soleimanian, E, Vahabzadeh, M & Variani, HA 2021a, A new paradigm of water, food, and energy nexus. Environmental Science and Pollution Research,
Molajou, A., Pouladi, P & Afshar, A, 2021b, Incorporating social system into water-food-energy nexus. Water Resources Management, 35: 4561-4580.
Moosavian, SF, Borzuei, D, Zahedi, R & Ahmadi, A 2022, Evaluation of research and development subsidies and fossil energy tax for sustainable development using computable general equilibrium model. Energy Science & Engineering, 10: 3267-3280.
Noorollahi, Y, Shabbir, MS, Siddiqi, AF, Ilyashenko, LK & Ahmadi, E 2019, Review of two decade geothermal energy development in Iran, benefits, challenges, and future policy. Geothermics, 77: 257-266.
Samadi, S 2017, The social costs of electricity generation- Categorizing different types of costs and evaluating their respective relevance. Energies, 10: 356.
Sharvini, SR, Noor, ZZ, Chong, CS, Stringer, LC, & Yusuf, RO 2018, Energy consumption trends and their linkages with renewable energy policies in East and Southeast Asian countries: Challenges and opportunities. Sustainable Environment Research, 28: 257-266.
Shen, H, Ali, SA, Alharthi, M, Shah, AS, Basit Khan, A, Abbas, Q & ur Rahman, S 2021, Carbon-free energy and sustainable environment: The role of human capital and technological revolutions in attaining sdgs. Sustainability, 13: 2636.
Smith, AC, Houser, D, Leeson, PT & Ostad, R 2014, The costs of conflict. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 97: 61-71.
Swain, RB, & Karimu, A 2020, Renewable electricity and sustainable development goals in the EU. World Development, 125:104693.
Timilsina, GR 2021, Are renewable energy technologies cost competitive for electricity generation? Renewable Energy, 180: 658-672.