Geothermal energy contributed 0.4% to total US power generation in 2013: EIA

8 September 2014 (Last Updated September 8th, 2014 18:30)

Geothermal energy contributed 0.4% to the total electricity generation in the US in 2013 and this figure has remained consistent since 2001, according to a report released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Operational geothermal resources in US 2013

Geothermal energy contributed 0.4% to the total electricity generation in the US in 2013 and this figure has remained consistent since 2001, according to a report released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Although California has been the centre of most geothermal capacity, it has changed since 2001 as most of the low-cost resources there have been developed and so firms have increasingly shifted their focus to other western states.

The country presently has 64 operating conventional geothermal power facilities, which had an overall installed capacity of approximately 2,700MW at the end of 2013.

More than three-fourths of geothermal power generated in 2013 has come from California, which not only has geothermal resources but also favourable policy and market conditions.

The largest complex of geothermal power facilities is located in northern California, with more than 700MW of generation capacity. However, since 2001 the state has seen development of only seven out of 30 new plants with more than 1MW capacity, as most of the low-cost geothermal resources have already been developed.

"EIA estimates that electricity generation from geothermal resources could more than quadruple between 2012 and 2040."

Around 16 of the 30 new facilities plants developed after 2001 are located in Nevada, with the rest being spread across Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Hawaii.

Although geothermal power generation increased 11% between 2008 and 2013, its share in the total electricity generation has been around 0.4% since 2001.

Geothermal facilities are almost emissions-free, and unlike other renewable sources, they offer a dispatchable source of baseload power, which can operate even at a high-capacity factor.

EIA estimates that electricity generation from geothermal resources could more than quadruple between 2012 and 2040, growing to more than 67,000GWh.


Image: The US presently has 64 operating conventional geothermal power facilities ,which had an installed capacity of nearly 2,700MW at the end of 2013. Photo: courtesy of the US Energy Information Administration.

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