Monday, October 8, 2012

Geothermal energy in California - Good to know

California is nation's geothermal energy leader by having more than 2500 MW of installed geothermal capacity from its 43 operating geothermal power plants.  Most of California's geothermal power plants are located at Geysers, the largest geothermal power plant complex in the world. The Geysers is located 72 miles north of San Francisco, has 1517 MW of active installed geothermal power capacity, enough to power approximately 1.5 million U.S. homes.

California is second ranked in number of new geothermal projects (behind Nevada) with 37 projects under development that once completed should add close to 2000 MW of new geothermal power capacity.
Even despite being the nation's geothermal energy leader, geothermal power still accounts for only 5% of total electricity generated in California. 

The U.S. Department of Energy has recognized the importance of geothermal energy in California. In 2010, for instance, it awarded $47.4 million to 22 geothermal projects in California.

California is aware that more domestic geothermal energy does not only mean positive environmental impact but could also lead to reduced foreign fuel import, and improve state's energy security.

Geothermal energy in California. California has plenty of geothermal energy thanks to its favorable geographical location.

In California, geothermal energy is still one of the most important renewable energy sources, more important than solar and wind energy, even despite the recent growth in solar and wind power capacity.

California will likely remain nation's geothermal energy leader for at least this decade.  The U.S. state that will likely challenge California's lead in years to come is Nevada. In 2011 Nevada announced 64 geothermal projects under development with the potential for nearly 3,500 MW of new geothermal capacity.

California is not only using its geothermal resources for electricity generation but also for heating purposes. In San Bernardino, for instance, more than 40 buildings are being heated with geothermal energy with fluids distributed through 15 miles of pipelines.

California has plenty geothermal energy resources at its disposal thanks to its favorable geographical location, namely the Pacific's ring of fire.

South central California, on the southeast side of the Salton Sea, is home to a 15 operational geothermal power plants with a total capacity of 600 MW.