A US Geological Survey report released on September 29 states that geothermal power is an important but underutilized source of power with potential to significantly alter the national energy mix. The report found that the geothermal industry could expand its 2500MW installed capacity by as much as 260 percent using only those geothermal resources already identified. Many more potential sites have yet to be explored. Resource estimates suggest that full utilization of unconventional, unidentified sources could add a geothermal electric power generating capacity equal to roughly half of current US generating capacity.
"The results of this assessment point to a greater potential for geothermal power production than previous assessments," said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. "Geothermal energy is not only a renewable resource, but could significantly contribute to our domestic energy resource base." Geothermal power has the dual advantage of being 100 percent domestic as well as virtually carbon neutral, as no fuel is actually burned in the power generating process. In addition to generating electric power, geothermal resources can be used to produce thermal energy in small-scale district energy systems.
Click here to read the USGS press release.