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.