Tuesday, October 6, 2009

U.S. Leads Geothermal Power Production Capacity

According to the latest update from the Geothermal Energy Association, the United States continues to maintain world leadership in geothermal power production capacity. Total installed U.S. geothermal power production capacity is now nearly 3.16 million megawatts, representing 4% of 2007 total renewable energy consumption in the nation. Geothermal power output is currently concentrated in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. In 2006 there were 34 such facilities in the U.S., and currently there are 132 on line.

Experts forecast 3% annual growth in the geothermal sector, though pending legislative cap and trade initiatives could double that growth to 6% annually. Success rates for geothermal power exploration are limited to about 25%, and exploration and production costs can range from $1,600 to $5,000 per kw of generation capacity. Once government policies are solidified, and available federal subsidies are identified more clearly, construction of such facilities in certain regions of the country could expand dramatically, with plans already on the drawing boards for facilities in Oregon, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana and Colorado.
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