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Robust Geothermal Growth Expected Even if Tax Credits Expire, EIA Reports

The Energy Information Agency (EIA) issued its report this week, Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which projects U.S. renewable power production more than doubling by 2035, even with the expiration of federal tax credits The report projects robust growth for geothermal, which is expects to triple its production by 2035 outpacing the overall trend.

According to EIA, "Growth in renewable generation is supported by many State requirements, as well as new regulations on CO2 emissions in California. The share of U.S. electricity generation coming from renewable fuels (including conventional hydropower) grows from 10 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2035. In the AEO2012 Reference case, Federal subsidies for renewable generation are assumed to expire as enacted. Extensions of such subsidies could have a large impact on renewable generation." EIA has indicated it will be conducting a study of expected renewable growth with an extension of the tax credits for release separately.

EIA's 2012 Outlook's projections show geothermal power growing from 2.6 Gigawatts of capacity to 6.41 Gigawatts, and production increasing from 16.42 billion kilowatt hours to 47.4 billion kilowatt hours. The geothermal production is all from utility scale systems, with EIA having no projection for small or distributed generation using geothermal technologies or coproduction. In 2035, geothermal is projected to provide 6 percent of the total U.S. renewable power produced, making it the third largest non-hydro source of renewable power generation, behind wind and biomass.

This story was originally published in GEA's newsletter - the Geothermal Energy Weekly and was republished with permission.

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Leslie is located in Washington DC at the Office of the Geothermal Energy Association and serves on the Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Expo committee.

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