Geothermal energy in United States- Current outlook

Geothermal energy use has been growing lately in United States (geothermal generation increased 11% in the last five years, between 2008 and 2013) though it still represents a mere 0.4% of total U.S. electricity generation. Geographically speaking, the Western United States, most notably California, have been responsible for most of the total U.S. geothermal energy development.

Unlike solar and wind, which are intermittent renewable energy sources, geothermal energy is available 24-7, and electricity is generated by harnessing underground reservoirs of hot water, which throughout the entire year remain at pretty much constant temperatures.

According to the latest Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) report there are currently 64 operational geothermal power plants in United States. The total capacity of these 64 plants is little above 2700 megawatts (MW).

The state of California leads the way in U.S. geothermal energy development. In 2013, California added approximately three quarters of the entire new geothermal capacity in the United States. California is also the home to the largest geothermal power plant complex in the world, the famous Geysers, with more than 700 MW of total capacity.

Majority of installed geothermal power plants in United States have relatively small capacity, in most cases even below 1 MW.  The other U.S. states with notable geothermal energy development include Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Hawaii.

The exploration and drilling costs are still major setback that drives investors away from geothermal energy. Perhaps, with the new technologies such as EGS (enhanced geothermal systems) the total costs connected with new geothermal  plants will go down, and geothermal energy can in years to come achieve popularity of solar and wind.

Geothermal energy in United States- Current outlook Geothermal energy in United States- Current outlook Reviewed by Lorine Wyman on September 28, 2014 Rating: 5

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