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American geothermal industry seeing steady growth

April 3, 2012  By Geothermal Energy Association

April 3, 2012, United States – The American geothermal industry continued its steady
growth in the
past year, according to the annual update on the geothermal industry
from the Geothermal Energy Association.

April 3, 2012, United States – The American geothermal industry continued its steady
growth adding approximately 91 megawatts of newly installed capacity in the
past year, according to the annual update on the geothermal industry
from the Geothermal Energy Association. The Annual U.S. Geothermal Power Production and
Development Report shows that the industry currently has 3,187 megawatts of
installed capacity, significantly outpacing every other country in the
world. As a renewable, baseload energy supply, geothermal has the
potential to replace coal and other non-renewable power sources.

Currently, geothermal electric power generation is
occurring in eight U.S. states: Alaska, California, Hawaii,
Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. An additional seven
states – Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas and
Washington – have geothermal capacity in development. California
continues to lead the way when it comes to geothermal energy. The Golden
State ranks first in overall installed capacity, with 2,615 megawatts already
online, and it has nearly 2,000 megawatts of capacity in development. Nevada is
also ahead of the pack, with 59 projects currently in development, more
than any other state.


The implementation of binary geothermal technology has enabled the
industry to develop lower temperature resources, which has expanded the
geothermal industry’s geographical footprint beyond California,
especially in the last decade. “Demonstrating the abilities of
geothermal systems to produce power from lower temperature systems, such
as oil and gas co-produced geothermal, is pushing out the boundaries for
geothermal power to encompass over a third of the U.S.,” said Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) executive director Karl Gawell.

“We’ve seen slow but steady growth for geothermal, even in a challenging
economy. The drivers for that growth have been state renewable
portfolio standards, federal tax credits, DOE demonstration project
support, and the fact that utility scale geothermal energy offers clean
baseload energy that’s competitive with other clean energy
technologies,” Gawell said. “The geothermal industry looks to our policy
leaders to provide a stable environment to foster growth that could
lead the U.S. toward greater energy independence.”

Gawell continued: “With federal tax credits expiring at the end of 2013,
many new geothermal power plants cannot count on federal help. Most
plants need between four and eight years of lead time before the
geothermal resource is on tap. As Washington debates whether or not to
extend renewable energy tax incentives, the industry struggles to
continue steady growth. Stable tax credit policies would further enhance
this development. State policies also continued to support new
development, but need to better recognize the full value of geothermal,
particularly its contribution to the reliability of the power system.”

“As the economy strengthens, our industry is expected to bring even more
geothermal capacity online in the coming years,” Gawell said. “In 2012,
another 100 megawatts of capacity is expected to come online representing
nearly $1 billion of investment in the clean energy economy.”

“The U.S. geothermal industry continues to be actively engaged in a faster
growing world market, which is helping many companies through the slack
in the U.S.,” Gawell noted. According to the Department of Commerce,
geothermal is one of only two renewables that exports more than it
imports in the United States. Geothermal equipment manufacturers and
service providers exist in almost every state and are able to provide
jobs in states such as Georgia and Oklahoma and then export goods

Geothermal leaders and policymakers from around the world will gather in Washington, D.C. on May 23 for the International Geothermal Energy Showcase.
The event, hosted in alliance with the U.S. Trade and Development
Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency
for International Development, and the Export-Import Bank of the United
States, will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building & International
Trade Center. For more information about this event, please visit The full report can be accessed at

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