The United States continues to lead the world in geothermal energy capacity and growth, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) said in a recent report that details gains and milestones over the past year.
Now considered the largest renewable energy power source in California, geothermal energy supplies a total installed capacity of 3,152.72 MW to the United States, in states including Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The report identifies up to 6,442.9 MW of new geothermal power plant capacity under development in the United States in those states as well as Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
This pushes the prospects of nearly 10 GW of installed capacity in the coming years over a broad section of the nation. At that level, geothermal power will satisfy the needs of over 10 million people in 14 states and still have tremendous growth potential.
A major source of the geothermal industry’s 46% growth in confirmed new power projects over the past year and 33% increase in employment was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which expanded tax credits for new projects to include a 30% investment credit and a "cash grant" alternative.
ARRA also "laid the foundation for sustained future growth" according to Gawell by providing up to $400 million in new funding to implement a wide range of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities.