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Geothermal Power Production Set To Double Out West

A report released today by the Geothermal Energy Association said that new geothermal projects soon to be developed out West will double the nation’s capacity for the renewable energy source.

Geothermal power is energy created by heat under the Earth’s surface. Projects that are, or soon to be underway are found throughout the West, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. These projects could provide up to 3,368 megawatts electric power, more than doubling U.S. geothermal power capacity from 2,936 MW to almost 6,304 MW, according to the Environment News Service. The new figure would be enough to provide energy for six million households.

In Oregon, among other Western states, geothermal power is not always a welcomed option. Many of GEA’s proposed production sites are in scenic or even protected wilderness areas.

However, geothermal power does not emit greenhouse gases and so the geothermal power plants do not contribute to global warming, according to the report. In fact, GEA claims carbon-dioxide reductions from the new projects will reduce the same amount of hazardous gas as would be done by removing five million cars from the roads.

At least 86 geothermal power projects are currently underway in the West, GEA officials said. These projects will provide economic benefits for residents in at least 12 states, including more than 5,000 permanent jobs and thousands additional in construction and manufacturing.

To read GEA’s full report, click here.

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Book Festivals of the West 2011

Each year readers and writers gather to celebrate the written word at book festivals, fairs, and writing conferences throughout the West. Although there are a few spring festivals, everything really begins to pick up in June, and the schedule remains busy through November. The offerings vary from those that concentrate on helping writers improve their craft, such as the Lighthouse Writers Workshop's retreat in Grand Lake, Colo. (July 10th-15th), to those that introduce writers to readers through panels, readings, and book signings, such as the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula (October 5th-7th). Some, such as the Aspen Summer Words Festival (June 19th-24th), combine workshops and readings. The workshops charge fees, but plenty of the festivals are free to attend, including the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula and the Equality State Book Fair in Casper. Most workshops are already accepting applications for this year. I've updated the Book Festivals of the West map with this year's information when it was available. Please let me know if there are any more events to add or update—I'll even throw this open for events in California and Texas. New West will run reports from the festivals again this year—we already have correspondents lined up for the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Aspen Summer Words, and the Montana Festival of the Book, and are looking for more contributors.


  1. Hey, no problem with the news report, just a note about an annoying thing — perhaps because my previous employer, a national company with a “national” point of view, was East Coast-based and thus had an East Coast mentality about anything “out West”:

    Next time you write here IN the West (and on about something here in the region, just say so — “in the West,” not “OUT West,” like some eastern observer casting his/her gaze beyond the Hudson, beyond the Potomac, beyond the Appalachians, beyond the Mississippi . . .
    Perspective and point of view are important.
    Thanks . . .

  2. Hey Baby,
    This seems right up your alley…