Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower

US Geothermal Industry Hits 3-GW in 2009

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is reporting that geothermal energy supplies a total installed capacity of 3,152.72 MW to the United States, in states including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

The report identifies up to 6,442.9 MW of new geothermal power plant capacity under development in the United States in those states as well as Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. This pushes the prospects of nearly 10 GW of installed capacity in the coming years over a broad section of the nation. At that level, geothermal power will satisfy the needs of over 10 million people in 14 states and still have tremendous growth potential.

This report, which highlights the geothermal industry’s growth, status as a green energy source, job creation and investment potential, comes on the heels of GEA’s Geothermal Energy Finance Forum, an event that brought geothermal development experts and major financial players together in New York City’s financial district.

“The Geothermal Energy Industry is experiencing unprecedented growth with future years’s promising double-digit, year-over-year expansion,” said Karl Gawell, GEA’s executive director. “While stimulus money has been driving much of our recent growth, we are also seeing that as geothermal technology pushes forward the economics of these projects really make sense.”

A major source of the geothermal industry’s 46 percent growth in confirmed new power projects over the past year and 33 percent increase in employment was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which expanded tax credits for new projects to include a 30% investment credit and a “cash grant” alternative.

ARRA also “laid the foundation for sustained future growth” according to Gawell by providing up to $400 million in new funding to implement a wide range of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. The amount of Federal funding provided to the geothermal industry through ARRA is unprecedented and is spurring the continued development of domestic geothermal resources.

 

The report identifies up to $342 million of federal funding currently allocated to 132 geothermal research, development, and demonstration projects in 27 states. When cost sharing among the awardees is accounted for, the amount of dollars allocated to geothermal research and development over the last year increases to approximately $626 million.

Nevada leads the way in ARRA projects with the Department of Energy funding totaling over $70 million. The funding is being used to study many emerging geothermal technologies including Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) and Geothermal Hydrocarbon Co-production (GHCP)