US Geothermal Power On The Rise  

Posted by Big Gav in

TreeHugger has a report on the rapid growth of geothermal power in the US - 4000 Megawatts of US Geothermal Power in Development, Sector Has Grown by 20% This Year.

There’s been a good deal of geothermal energy news in the past few weeks—less than solar and wind perhaps, but that’s more a function of publicity and popularity rather than the potential of the resource—and the latest US Geothermal Power Production and Development Update from the Geothermal Energy Association shows just how much geothermal power has grown so far this year.

New Developments Will Nearly Double Current Capacity

According to the new report, geothermal power has grown by 20% since January of this year, with 103 project currently underway in 13 states for a combined capacity of nearly 4,000 megawatts. The GEA says when completed these projects will be able to meet the electric needs of about 4 million homes.

Currently, installed geothermal power capacity in the United States is nearly 3,000 megawatts, with 2555 MW of that in California alone.

California, Nevada Lead the Way

By state, this is what’s on tap geothermally: Alaska, 5 projects/53-100 MW; Arizona 2/2-20 MW; California 21/928-1037 MW; Colorado 1/10 MW; Florida 1/0.2-1 MW; Hawaii 2/8 MW; Idaho 6/251-326 MW; Nevada 45/1083-1902 MW; New Mexico 1/10 MW; Oregon 11/297-322 MW; Utah 6/244 MW; Washington 1/(unspecified capacity); Wyoming 1/0.2 MW.

Just so everyone’s clear on this, the geothermal power being talked about in this report is a different thing entirely than ground source heat pumps, which are sometimes called geothermal heat pumps. While both utilize the heat of the planet, the two really shouldn't be confused.

4 comments

Can I just say woohoo!

The United States, Australia and Iceland signed the charter of an agreement Thursday to promote geothermal technologies, the U.S. Energy Department said.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/08/28/US_inks_geothermal_pact_with_two_nations/UPI-81651219944497/

Yeah - I saw that one today too - a positive step for all 3 countries.

Nah, we shouldn't confuse geothermal power with ground-source heat pumps because ground-source heat pumps or geoexchange contributes far more to the balance of energy use than geothermal.

Every geoexchange unit in a hard frost zone harvests the thermal equivalent of tons of coal burned every winter. In temperate or hot zones geoexchange units reduce the need to generate electrical power by several tons of coal per unit every summer.

The fact that these systems are disperesed doesn't mean that they don't have a large impact on CO2 emissions. There are at least a few million of them installed and more going in every day.

Hey Pangolin - I don't think the TreeHugger guys were saying that geothermal electricity is good / geothermal heat pumps are bad - just that the two shouldn't be confused (which they frequently are).

I'm sure they like geothermal heat pumps and appreciate their value (as I do).

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