Leading news from the Geothermal Energy Association

This week’s leading news in Geothermal Energy Weekly includes information on new reports showing suggestions for U.S. presidential action on driving clean energy; updates on the National Geothermal Data System; increased renewable energy on U.S. military bases; and international renewable forecast scenarios. First, we bring you our Graph of the Week.

Graph of the Week: Geothermal has Potential for Significant Increased Capacity in the U.S.

Identified Geothermal Resources by State (MW) by USGS 2008

“Geothermal resources have the potential to play a much more significant role in our Nation’s energy mix,” USGS Fact Sheet 2008-3082


Above: The plethora of geothermal sites in Nevada, California, Alaska, Oregon, and Idaho is an immediate takeaway in our geothermal Graph of the Week. The data is derived from a 2008 U.S. Geological Survey study that assessed the electric power generation potential of conventional geothermal resources (90°C (194°F) and greater) and found potential for a much greater role for geothermal in the United States. With an average estimate of 5,404 MW, California has the highest identified resource, nearly double the state’s current installed capacity of around 2,700 MW. In total, USGS found between 3,675 MW (95% likelihood) and 16,457 MW (5%) of identified moderate- to high-temperature geothermal resources. The number rose to between 7,917 MW and 73,286 MW when factoring in undiscovered resources. The current installed capacity of geothermal power in the U.S. is around 3,400 MW.

President’s Options for Clean Energy Progress Outlined
Info on National Geothermal Data System Doubled in 2013
Renewable Energy Increasing at U.S. Military Bases
International Renewable Energy Agency Publishes Roadmap to 2030

President’s Options for Clean Energy Progress Outlined
The Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University has completed a new report called “Powering Forward: Presidential and Executive Agency Actions to Drive Clean Energy in America” [PDF]. The report provides suggested actions that could be possible for President Obama to take to support his Climate Action Plan without relying on Congressional action. The report mentions geothermal energy several times, including the need to identify and remove barriers to development on federal lands; the need to hold high-visibility Presidential events around renewable project groundbreakings and dedications; and the need to increase “geo-education,” including for geothermal heat pumps.

The report focuses on five areas as requested by President Obama in March 2013: 1. Doubling energy productivity; 2. Financing renewable energy; 3. Producing natural gas responsibly; 4. Developing alternative fuels and vehicles; and 5. Enabling electric and gas utilities to adapt to the new realities of the 21st century. According to the report, “Even in the face of Congressional inaction, President Obama can leverage executive branch power, unleash enterprise and investment, and move America toward a clean energy future that curbs climate change. Featuring 200 specific recommendations developed by more than 100 industry experts and top energy thinkers, Powering Forward provides the Administration with options to move the nation closer to a clean energy economy.”

Info on National Geothermal Data System Doubled in 2013
According to a report by Arizona’s State Geological Survey [PDF], the National Geothermal Data System made important progress over the past year. Work this year focused on data collection and deployment, more than doubling the available data points from approximately 2 million in FY2012 to more than 5 million. Click here to read details of National Geothermal Data System user interface testing at the 2013 Geothermal Energy Expo, as shared by Department of Energy representatives.

Renewable Energy Increasing at U.S. Military Bases
Geothermal power represents almost 45% of the 384 MW of renewable energy capacity on U.S. military bases, says a new Pew Charitable Trusts study. All of that is located at the China Lake geothermal plant in California. Total Defense Department renewable energy projects rose by 43% between 2010 and 2012, from 454 in 2010 to 700.

International Renewable Energy Agency Publishes Roadmap to 2030
The International Renewable Energy Agency has published a new roadmap called REmap 2030 [PDF] that shows forecasted use of renewables in the global energy mix and is based on data from official governmental sources in 26 countries. The percentage of renewables could increase by ~36% in the next 16 years if countries act now, according to the report. For geothermal, “The United States, Indonesia and Japan are the main countries which will contribute to the global deployment of geothermal power technology” (page 34).

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