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Geothermal power industry saw 26% growth in 2009

Oilfield Technology,

In 2009, 188 new projects have been started which could together produce as much as 7875 MW of energy. These projects could potentially provide electricity for 7.6 million people, or enough energy to completely replace California’s coal-fired plants. “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,” said Karl Garwell, GEA’s Executive Director.

Nevada is the leading state for geothermal development with 3000 MW under development, with Utah being the fastest growing state having quadrupled its capacity under development. There are powerful incentives to get development of geothermal sites underway of course. “These geothermal power projects will create substantial sources of new employment across the country,” said Karl Gewell. GEA estimates that up to 29,750 permanent jobs and 11,200 person-years of construction manufacturing employment will be created by geothermal energy development projects. The projects will represent more than US$ 35 billion of capital investment when complete.

"The federal stimulus, tax incentives, and strong state renewable standards continue to fuel the growth in geothermal power," said Gawell. "Many geothermal developers are building several projects in the US, and the cash grant provides them an effective incentive that quickly reduces their debt - an important fact in the present economic recession." State law has also played an important role in driving growth; four out of five of the top performing states in developing geothermal energy have high renewable standards, and demand a high percentage of energy which must be developed from renewable sources.

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