USA – geothermal

The geothermal power industry in the USA reached about 3,442MW at the end of 2013. In total the U.S. industry added about 85MW of new capacity additions in 2013. link The United States generates more geothermal electricity than any other country, but it accounts for less than 0.5% of all electricity produced in United States. Most of the geothermal reservoirs in the United States are located in the western States and Hawaii. California generates the most electricity from geothermal energy.

“The Geysers” dry steam reservoir in northern California is the largest known dry steam field in the world and has been producing electricity since 1960. Only five States have geothermal power plants: California with 34, produces almost 90% of U.S. geothermal electricity. Nevada has 15 geothermal power plants. Hawaii, Montana, and Utah each have one geothermal plant. In 2010, the United States led the world in geothermal electricity production with 3,086 MW of installed capacity from 77 power plants. The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California. The Philippines is the second highest producer, with 1,904 MW of capacity online

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the geothermal resource base in the United States to be between 95,000 and 150,000MW, of which about 22,000MW have been identified as suitable for electric power generation. Unfortunately, only a fraction of this resource is currently utilized, with an installed capacity of 2,800MW (worldwide capacity is approximately 10,000 MW). But thanks to declining costs and state and federal support, geothermal development is likely to increase. Over the next decade, new geothermal projects are expected to come online to increase U.S. capacity to between 8,000 and 15,000MW.
November 2017: Planned communities tapping into geothermal power. Although geothermal provided just 0.4% of the total generation in the U.S. in 2013, that’s starting to change, especially in a handful of suburbs. An in-progress development of 700 single-family homes near Atlanta will host a commercial district, hotels, and 250,000 square feet of office, retail, and restaurant space: central U.S. being perfect for geothermal heat pumps. Boise, Idaho, uses geothermal for 91 government and commercial buildings, totaling 5 million square feet of space. With a new development it’s easy to put the system in because then its part of the whole package and the upfront cost is just part of the mortgage – the disturbance to your ground and things like that are all already happening. link

February 2011: U.S. Department of Energy looks to low-temperature geothermal.
Federal researchers hope to bridge the gap between fossil fuels and renewable energy by tapping into vast amounts of low-temperature geothermal resources in America’s oil and gas wells. “It’s incredible the amount of energy that’s out there in terms of hot water,” said William Gosnold, a professor at the University of North Dakota. In a recent press release, the DOE announced that its Geothermal Technologies Program has funded 17 projects in various geological conditions that have combined capacities of 3 GW of power via “low-temperature, co-produced and geopressured” resources.  The resources could all be producing energy by 2020. link

July 2011: Short on cash and know-how, U.S. geothermal industry stumbles. The five major, publicly traded North American geothermal companies are valued at a fraction of what they were a year ago, with operational problems at several of them. The geothermal industry is a capital-intensive field in which getting a new project off the ground can take five years and drilling each well can cost between $3 million and $10 million, depending on local conditions. link