Report: Geothermal Continues Strong Growth

A new report from the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) shows strong growth in new geothermal power projects continuing into 2009.

“There has been a 25 percent increase in new geothermal projects from August of 2008, when the last GEA report was released. There is also an increase in overall production potential by 35 percent,” said Kara Slack, the report’s author.

The report identifies a total of 126 projects under development with the potential to put 5,500 megawatts (MW) of new geothermal power online, equivalent to 15,000–20,000 MW from wind turbines, according to GEA. New geothermal power projects were identified in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. In addition, the report notes that the number of states producing geothermal power has increased from seven to eight with the addition of Wyoming.

“We are seeing new entrants to the industry, in part because of new leasing by BLM [Bureau of Land Management] and several new projects by the U.S. Navy,” Slack said.

According to the GEA report, Nevada, with 58 confirmed projects, has the most production under development. California is second with 27 projects, followed by Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Alaska.

“The report shows a substantial movement of projects into the later stages of development, the permitting and construction phases,” said Karl Gawell, executive director of GEA. “If federal and state governments give them the support and priority they need, most of these -projects could be online in a few years.”

GEA estimates that bringing these projects online could help economic recovery, spurring as many as 100,000 new jobs.

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