13 April 2010 — The geothermal power industry showed 26 percent growth in new projects under development in the United States in 2009, with 188 projects underway in 15 states which could produce as much as 7,875 MW of new electric power. The results are are reported by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) in its “April 2010 US Geothermal Power Production and Development Update.” 

Nevada continued to be the leading state for new geothermal energy, with over 3,000 MW under development. The fastest growing geothermal power states were Utah which quadrupled its geothermal power under development, New Mexico which tripled, Idaho which doubled and Oregon which reported a 50 percent increase. Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas all reported their first geothermal projects compared with a year earlier.

New geothermal power projects are in progress in 15 states from the Pacific to the Gulf Coast. GEA identified new projects in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The survey also showed interest in small power systems (under 1 MW) with projects in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon and Wyoming.

GEA said that all of the geothermal power projects coming on line in 2009 used federal tax grant provisions authorized in the 2009 economic stimulus bill. In addition, four of the top five states with geothermal power under development have substantial renewable standards. Those states in order of geothermal development and their state renewable requirement are: 1) Nevada (25 percent), 2) California (33 percent), 3) Utah (20 percent), 4) Idaho (none), and 5) Oregon (25 percent).

The report documents federal stimulus funding in the geothermal industry, which will result in over $600 million of research into new technology at 135 projects in 25 states over the next two years. Department of Energy stimulus funding has been targeted to support development of enhanced geothermal systems technology, new drilling and exploration techniques, geothermal power production from oil and gas wells and other industry needs.

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