Geothermal power plant in Iceland. Photo: Trey Ratcliff
We’ve heard competing claims about how much geothermal power potential exists in various parts of the world. Recent statements about Australia’s geothermal potential seem incredible: Tapping 1% of it could yield 26,000 years of energy. Obviously more questions are posed by the statement then are resolved. Well, the US Geological Survey has released a new study which estimates more soberly the US’s geothermal potential. It's still substantial, but could be hard to get at it:Bulk of Geothermal Potential From Non-Conventional Sources
According to USGS, the United States has the potential to generate just shy of 530 GW of electricity from geothermal power. Currently the US has tapped into about 2.5 GW of that and a further 7.5 GW could be developed from conventional, identified geothermal sources. An addtional 30 GW may be developed from unidentified conventional geothermal sources. The remainder of this resource’s potential in the US would come from unconventional geothermal systems (presumably tapped by the type of geothermal technology Google has recently backed).
Geothermal in Perspective
To put all of this in some perspective, the 2.5 GW of geothermal capacity the US has generates about 15,000 GWh of electricity (about 25% of the US’s non-hydro renewable energy), while total US electric generation stands at a bit over 4,055,000 GWh annually.
via :: Cleantech
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