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Why Geothermal?


What is geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is heat (thermal) derived from the earth (geo). It is the thermal energy contained in the rock and fluid (that fills the fractures and pores within the rock) in the earth's crust.

How can geothermal resources be used?

High temperature geothermal resources can be used to generate electricity. Medium and low enthalpy geothermal resources can be used for a wide range of direct uses, e.g., district and space he03-Mar-2006wing of fish), balneology (bathing), and resorts.

Where can I find more information on geothermal resources?

There are several excellent sources of information about geothermal resources and their uses on the WWW:

Why is the development of renewable geothermal resources vital to the United States' energy and national security?

Renewable geothermal energy resources have environmental advantages over other energy sources. They are available locally—mitigating the costs and many other problems of importing and moving fuels around the globe, and maintaining security of supply—and are supported by enormous resource bases. Geothermal resources are present in many areas of the western United States, and can be used partially to replace conventional fuels. (Source: "Geothermal Energy: Today's Clean, Sustainable Energy Choice, " by Phillip Michael Wright and Perle M. Dorr (Geothermal Energy Association)

A Union of Concerned Scientists study found that establishing a national standard of 20% of American electricity coming from non-hydropower renewable energy by 2020, if combined with energy efficiency programs, would save consumers at least $70 billion, stimulate the economy, reduce the vulnerability of our energy infrastructure to terrorist attack, and greatly reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

A World Wildlife Fund study indicated that energy efficiency policies and development of renewable energy resources could result in 750,000 new jobs nationwide by 2010 and 1.3 million jobs by 2020. According to the study—"Clean Energy: Jobs for America’s Future”—US GDP would increase by $23 billion by 2010.

How do local, state, and the Federal governments support the development of geothermal resources?

Local, state, and the Federal governments support the development of geothermal resources in a variety of ways. At the national level, the US Department of Energy launched GeoPowering the West in 1999 to dramatically increase the use of geothermal energy in the western United States.

At the local and state levels, promotional activities vary from state to state and may include tax incentives, grants, loans, rebates, industrial recruitment, utility green pricing programs, education and assistance programs, demonstration projects, research and outreach centers, public benefits funds, and renewable portfolio standards.

For specific information on what promotional activities are present in your state, refer to State Information.

Where are geothermal resources located in my state?

The Geo-Heat Center is a good first source of information on where geothermal resources are located in the United States, and how they are being used.

For state-specific information, refer to State Information.

What is happening with geothermal development in my state?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy.

For state-specific information related to geothermal energy, refer to State Information.

Who can I contact for more information in my state?

For information on what is going on with geothermal development where you live, contact the GeoPowering State Lead in your state.


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Current Solicitations / Subscribe to Newsletter / Financing Information / Why Geothermal? is produced with support from the US Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Geothermal Technologies Program. Neither the US Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the US Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the US Government or any agency thereof.

Updated 03-Mar-2006

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