In an election year, most news relating to the government concerns who is winning delegates or what the candidates are saying about one another, but behind the scenes most departments continue their work like clockwork. The United States Geothermal Energy Association is one such consistent group.
U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report
For its annual “”U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report”, released yesterday, April 3rd, the association detailed the current development of geothermal energy systems in the United States. One of the most encouraging details was the fact that 91 MW of geothermal power generation was added to the United State’s power grid last year.
Despite these gains, geothermal power generation is only taking place actively in eight out of the fifty states in the union. Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, California, Oregon, Utah and Nevada are among the exclusive company to have current power being generated. Seven other states that consist of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota and Washington are in progress of developing geothermal systems. The leader overall in production at this time is California with 2000 MW in development, in addition to the 2615 MW already online. Not to be outdone though, Nevada leads the way with 59 projects in development.
Federal tax credits have been a driving force behind these additions and the geothermal development in these states. Development generally takes four to eight years to get the geothermal resource live to be tapped, but the tax credits expire upon the closing of 2013, putting some projects at risk. The tax credits have been offered due to states and the federal government seeking renewable energy sources and a reliable energy source. Geothermal has provided the solution on both accounts, but has come at a price. Despite these potential setbacks, it is expected that an additional 100 MW will come online this year, worth an estimated one billion dollars.
The addition of such facilities has also led to an increase in the consumer market for geothermal heating systems. Companies have begun offering these systems which in many cases can save customers up to 70% on their energy costs, making these geothermal development projects sought after in many states.