Solar and wind have been the celebrities of renewable energy news coverage recently, but according to the United States Geological Survey and industry experts, geothermal energy is the next big thing.
The current economic crisis and rising costs of oil have led to a push for more geothermal energy production in the U.S., already the world’s leading producer.
In the first government assessment in 30 years, the USGS reports that the U.S. has “identified conventional” sources of geothermal energy that, if fully developed, are capable of generating 9,057 megawatts (MW). One megawatt is equal to 1,000 kilowatts, enough to serve about 1,000 U.S. homes, meaning 9,057 MW could power 9,057,000 homes.
Another potential 30,033 MW is available in “conventional undiscovered” sources and 517,800 MW from Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), sources that have high temperatures and low permeability. This figure makes Google’s August announcement that it was investing $10 million in EGS development pretty exciting.
At an international conference this week on geothermal energy, industry insiders revealed that projects are being developed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Nevada, which has the most potential geothermal power, has 45 projects alone. More than 2,100 MW can be produced in Nevada, more than enough to meet the state requirement to have 20 percent renewable power production by 2015.
This news makes me feel like the U.S. is really in reach of utilizing large amounts of renewable energy. Let’s hope that the experts are right, the press coverage increases and the funding follows.
written by Mark Bartosik, October 13, 2008
written by Fred, July 21, 2009
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