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03/31/2011 11:17 AM     print story email story  

US Geothermal Industry Continues Growth in 2011 News

In 2011, the US geothermal industry is developing 146 projects across 15 states, with the total number of geothermal projects and prospects under development increasing 12%, according to the Geothermal Energy Association.

The "Annual GEA U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report" shows that total installed capacity in the US is approximately 3,102 megawatts (MW), enough to power over 2 million homes.

Geothermal electric power generation is occurring in nine U.S. states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

When current projects come online, US geothermal capacity will triple. And pilot projects are beginning to show development potential further east.

New projects focus on generating geothermal electricity from low temperature fluids left over as a byproduct from oil and gas production and harnessing electricity from geothermal fluids under high geological pressure along the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States ranks No. 1 in geothermal energy production and continues to be one of the leading countries in geothermal growth.

"The geothermal industry has an exciting year ahead, as there are numerous projects switching from development phases to fullfledged geothermal power plants," said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. "And a second wave of development is on its way. This report reveals that many projects are entering the drilling and production phase, which is where the majority of geothermal jobs creation is."

Many projects nearing production are in Nevada and California, in Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, and Hawaii, Alaska, Louisiana and Mississippi.

"While the government incentive programs may have given the geothermal space a lift in terms of initiating new activity, it's going to take additional support from Private Investment that will fuel the majority of the growth in years to come," said Saf Dhillon, Investor Relations, U.S. Geothermal Inc.

While the number of states with geothermal installed capacity and projects in development is significant, the reach of the geothermal industry is even more extensive. A total of 43 states have companies involved in geothermal development operations.

For the first time, the Annual GEA U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report was produced under a reporting system known as the Geothermal Reporting Terms and Definitions in order to increase the accuracy and value of the information presented.

The Geothermal Reporting Terms and Definitions act as a guideline to project developers in reporting geothermal project development information to the GEA.

"The new system increases the precision of our reports," said GEA Research Associate Dan Jennejohn. "By providing the industry and public with a lexicon of definitions and a guideline to determine phases of development, we can better asses a geothermal project's position in the development timeline."

Geothermal leaders will gather in Washington DC on Wednesday, May 4 for the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) 2011 Geothermal Energy Technology and International Development Forum.


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