Geothermal fandom includes IKEA, Apple, and President Obama

IKEA and Apple both have geothermal plans in the works. Benefits of geothermal are key to President Obama’s climate plan.

IKEA to Ramp up Geothermal Use
Apple Eyes Reno’s Geothermal
Geothermal a Fit for President’s Climate Plan

IKEA to Ramp up Geothermal Use
By Sustainable Energy Coalition/SUN DAY Campaign, source — IKEA, the world’s biggest furniture seller, completed its first U.S. solar project in October 2010 at its Tempe, Arizona store. Since then, it has followed a path to install solar at as many locations as possible, as part of its goals to reduce its carbon footprint and energy costs. The company now has solar on 39 of its 44 U.S. facilities, totaling up to close to 38 megawatts of generation. With most of its U.S. locations fitted out with solar panels, IKEA has its eye on geothermal energy next. The 413,000 square-foot Centennial store is the first and only IKEA location in the country to run partly on geothermal energy for heating and cooling. That, combined with its existing solar panels, has allowed it to operate without any gas hookups from an outside utility. Once the solar expansion comes online, the store will be the furthest along in being energy independent. Installation of a 1.1-megawatt system is expected to begin next month. IKEA already operates close to 50 geothermal projects around the world and hopes to expand that presence in the United States.

Apple Eyes Reno’s Geothermal
Multinational corporation Apple has an interest in geothermal energy in Reno, the northern Nevada town that hosts several geothermal companies. Apple is planning both a giant data center and a large solar farm in the area and plans to use geothermal energy in its 100% renewables mix at its facilities there. The Reno data center will be Apple’s largest facility with 15 MW planned for this year and up to 35 MW by 2017.

Geothermal a Fit for President’s Climate Plan
An E&E News story about GEA’s recent National Geothermal Summit in Reno, Nevada gives insight into the industry in light of President Obama’s climate change plan, which his administration released the same week as the event.  Geothermal energy falls behind other energy sources in terms of its popularity, but stands as a baseload source that can both replace retiring coal plants and support intermittent solar and wind projects.  Although the President did not mention geothermal in his speech announcing the plan, it’s in the plan itself.

“I don’t think there’s a technology better poised to try and meet all the goals the president laid out in his greenhouse gas reduction plan,” Paul Thomsen, president of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) and a director at Ormat Technologies Inc. was quoted.  At the event, public figures who offered support for geothermal as a national interest included Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) (via video keynote) as well as officials from the Department of Energy who noted geothermal is “one of the lowest-emitting energy technologies.”

Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson said the EGS project by Ormat Technologies, Desert Peak in Nevada, is “a critical investment to ensure America leads in this growing global industry.”  That project was supported by $5.4 million in DOE funding and a $2.6 million industry investment.

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