US, September 17, 2014: The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has projected that generation of geothermal electricity could more than quadruple by 2040, increasing to over 67,000 GW-hr.
This increase in generation could facilitate California and other states fulfil their mandated renewable generation needs.
Geothermal generation, akin to wind and solar energy is nearly emissions-free. However, in contrast to wind and solar energy, geothermal baseload energy is able to function at relatively high capacities.
At present 64 conventional geothermal power plants operate in the U.S. providing nearly 2,700 MW of total capacity and three-quarters of this generation occurs in California due to favourable geothermal policy, resources and market conditions.
While geothermal electricity generation rose 11 percent between 2008 and 2013, the geothermal contribution of total U.S. generation has remained consistently around 0.4% since 2001.
However, since 2001, new geothermal capacity additions have increasingly been established in other western states due to availability of deep, naturally permeable rock formations and easy access to high-temperature fluids. Most of the low-cost resources in California have already been developed.