Geothermal Energy Grows 26% in 2009

Joanna Schroeder

According to a new report from the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), geothermal energy showed 26 percent growth in new projects under development in 2009 in the US. According to the new report, “2010 US Geothermal Power Production and Development Update,” 188 projects are underway in 15 states which could eventually produce as much as 7,875 MW of new electric power per year. Nevada is leading the way with over 3,000 MW under development. Other fast growing states include Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, and Oregon with Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas all reporting their first geothermal projects.

“Geothermal power can be a critical part of the answer to global warming,” said GEA’s Executive Director, Karl Gawell. “For example, California could achieve its 2020 goal for global warming emissions reductions just by keeping energy demand level and replacing its coal-fired generation with geothermal.”

Once these projects are completed, they will add over 7,000 MW of baseload power capacity, which is enough to provide electricity for 7.6 million people, or 20 percent of California’s total power needs. This is also roughly the amount of total power used in California from coal-fired power plants.

“These geothermal power projects will create substantial sources of new employment across the country,” said Gawell. “Not only are we seeing more and more development and hiring in places with a long history of geothermal like Nevada and California, but for the first time these jobs are being created in the Gulf Coast, in states such as Louisiana and Mississippi. Along with a huge number of new construction jobs, geothermal power also creates many permanent positions that can never be outsourced.”

Together, the direct, indirect and induced employment created by these projects is estimated by GEA to be 29,750 permanent jobs and 112,000 person-years of construction and manufacturing employment. In addition, the projects under development will represent capital investment of more than $35 billion when completed. The full report is available by clicking here.

Electricity, Geothermal, News