Geothermal energy is gaining a solid foothold in Utah, California, and Nevada, according to a recent study by the Utah Geological Survey.
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) claims that the geothermal interests of Utah alone outpace those of many other countries.
Ben Matek, analyst with the GEA, says, “The resources in Utah are a good quality resource, with the vast majority of countries having less than 10 projects for potential development. Utah ranks in the top 10 for developing projects.”
A project in Bolivia, recently funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is currently scheduled to tap into similar resources in Bolivia’s Sol de Mañana geothermal field. The Bolivian government received the equivalent of $25M (USD), and the plant should be operation by 2019.
The Bolivia plant is expected to eventually add 100 megawatts annually to the national grid, which currently sees annual power demands of 1,350 megawatts.
The U.S., by contrast, added 85 megawatts of capacity in 2013, bringing the total geothermal capacity up to over 3,400 megawatts.
Prime geothermal locations that can support a commercially profitable energy plant require extensive research to locate, and the necessary pipes must extend But residential homes can benefit from geothermal differentials much more readily.
“The benefits of changing how we think about natural renewable energy sources versus traditional ones, are lifestyle and habit changes. We’re coming to realize that there are better, more efficient alternatives, without compromising anything when it comes to comfort, health, or aesthetics.” says Tom Casey, Owner of Climate Partners – a Milford, CT based HVAC company.
In 2006, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released a report regarding, among other things, the potential energy production of enhanced geothermal systems. The researchers estimated that geothermal energy could eventually be tapped for over 2,000 zettajoules of electrical generating capacity – enough to meet the entire world’s energy consumption needs for several thousand years.
Geothermal plants such as those in Utah and Bolivia, as well as residential systems, further the cause of renewable energy. As the technology continues to develop, we can continue to tackle the twin problems of resource depletion and global warming.