U.S. Geothermal Energy Capacity Grew 6% in 2009
February 10, 2010
Geothermal power, from plants such as this one in Nevada, continued to increase in 2009.
Geothermal energy capacity expanded 6% in the United States in 2009, due to six new geothermal plants which came online, adding 176.68 megawatts (MW). Three projects came into service in Nevada, with one apiece in California, Oregon, and Utah. The total online capacity in the U.S. reached 3,152.72 MW as of August 2009, according to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), an industry trade association.
There is further expansion on the horizon. GEA has identified 6442.9 MW of new U.S. geothermal power plant capacity under development, though some of those may not go forward. However, there are seven projects with an estimated 125 MW of capacity that have drilling and facility construction underway. Those projects include two in California, totaling 85 MW; one in Florida generating 0.2-1.0 MW; three in Nevada, totaling 39.4 MW; and one in Oregon producing 0.2 MW. The Florida and Oregon projects will be the first geothermal projects in those states. One of those projects—at Jay Oil Field in Florida—will use the hot water produced by oil and gas wells to generate power. Two such projects started up in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2009, and more are planned for Louisiana, Nevada, and Wyoming. See the GEA press release (PDF 25 KB), the GEA report update (PDF 394 KB), and the Web site for DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program. Download Adobe Reader.