Developing geothermal energy

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released testimony presented in the Senate on the future of geothermal energy in the U.S. The testimony was based on a GAO report issued in May.

The testimony notes, "In the United States, geothermal resources are concentrated in Alaska, Hawaii, and the western half of the country, primarily on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)." Also,
Geothermal resources currently account for about 0.3 percent of the annual electricity produced in the United States, or 2,534 megawatts--enough electricity to supply 2.5 million homes. Even though the percentage of electricity generated from geothermal resources is small nationwide, it is locally important. For example, geothermal resources provide about 25 percent of Hawaii's electricity, 5 percent of California's electricity, and 9 percent of northern Nevada's electricity.
Not only do geothermal resources currently play only a small energy role, developing these resources involves "significant financial, technical, and logistical challenges." The Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L. 109-58 (pdf), attempted to address some of these issues with provisions for tax credits, clean renewable energy bonds, transmission facilities, and incentive-based rates for electricity in interstate commerce. Because several of the Act's major provisions require implementation by agencies in the Dept. of the Interior (DOI), the testimony concludes that the future of the nation's geothermal energy depends on these agencies' actions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Increased Geothermal Development Will Depend on Overcoming Many Challenges, GAO-06-930T, July 11, 2006
     Full testimony (pdf, 276KB, 19p.)
     Highlights (pdf, 136KB, 1p.)
     Abstract (html)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Increased Geothermal Development Will Depend on Overcoming Many Challenges, GAO-06-629, May 24, 2006
     Full report (pdf, 1.7MB, 53p.)
     Highlights (pdf, 600KB, 1p.)
     Abstract (html)

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Blogger UpDog said...


I am a California resident also interested in geothermal development, primarily in Southern California. Recently, there was an announcement from Mannvit engineering and Technip announcing a new partnership to develop geothermal energy in the US. Hopefully the DOI is ready now.

Our air and our state budget both need it.


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