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Why Geothermal?

Why Geothermal?

  1. Geothermal energy's benefits
  2. Geothermal energy has significant potential to generate power and provide energy for direct use applications
  3. Why should electric utilities buy geothermal power?
  4. Why should state energy agencies support the development of geothermal resources?
  5. What are the primary environmental issues related to geothermal development?

1. Geothermal energy...
  • Is reliable, continuous, and secure
  • Is renewable and sustainable
  • Safeguards clean air
  • Uses little land
  • Has predictable costs; no price shocks
  • Boosts local economies
  • Contributes to economic development
  • Provides distributed power for remote off-grid sites
  • Can assist in the disposal of city wastewater
  • Can start small, grow in increments
  • Conserves fossil fuels
  • Offsets importing or transporting fuels
  • Contributes to energy diversity

Source: Geothermal Education Office


2. Geothermal energy has significant potential to generate power and provide energy for direct use applications

Many of the 19 GeoPowering the West states have geothermal resources that can be used to generate power or provide energy for direct use applications (e.g., aquaculture, greenhouses, district and space heating, spas and resorts, and other agricultural and industrial uses).

Unless otherwise noted, the data below comes from the Assessment of geothermal resources of the United States, 1978 (Circular 790) and Assessment of low-temperature geothermal resources of the United States, 1982 (Circular 892), both published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS estimates are over 25 years old. They do not consider anticipated or additional hydrothermal resources that might be available though advanced technology or improved knowledge of geothermal systems. A new assessment of geothermal resources is sorely needed.

Geothermal potential for electricity generation and direct use

STATE

ELECTRICITY
GENERATION
(MWe for 30 yr)

DIRECT USE
(MWt for 30 yr)

Alaska
189
434
Arizona
23
1,636
California
12,206
1,957
Colorado
24
1,761
Hawai'i
251
24
Idaho
2,759
Kansas
not specified
1,684
Montana
not specified
8,755
Nebraska
not specified
1,550
Nevada
2,559
2,386
New Mexico
37-100
(Southwest Technology Development Institute, New Mexico State University)
582
North Dakota
not specified
4,950
Oklahoma
not specified
2,100
Oregon
2,031
1,198
South Dakota
not specified
2,592
Texas
not specified
423
Utah
1,300
685
Washington
27
448
Wyoming
not specified
4,793

 

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Updated 08-Apr-2010

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