Geothermal Potential in California Still Largely Untapped, Industry Group Tells California Air Resources Board

February 20, 2014

As the California Air Resources Board is examining their new scoping plan for implementing the state's ambitious climate law, AB 32, the leading geothermal industry group has issued a status report on the state's geothermal resources that says they are still largely untapped.

Geothermal power is 'a viable, cost effective, and plentiful renewable energy option to meet California's climate goals,' GEA told CARB. Utilizing the Golden State's geothermal resources can help achieve 'carbon reductions with the least total cost and highest power system reliability,' GEA reports.

In brief, the status report shows that:

  • geothermal power generated 4.4% of total system power in California in 2012, but could have generated substantially more;
  • geothermal power produces some of the lowest life-cycle emissions when compared to almost every other energy technology and even some renewables;
  • depending on the resource characteristics and plant design, geothermal power plants can be engineered to provide firm and/or flexible power;
  • even with high upfront capital costs, geothermal power is a competitive renewable energy source;
  • about half of California's identified geothermal resources are still untapped, and significant resources may remain undiscovered;
  • geothermal power is key to achieving an expanded renewable power portfolio at the lowest total cost;
  • new technology will reduce geothermal power risks and can expand the supply curve to make more resources commercially available;
  • the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is considered by many to be the best opportunity for growth in California in the near term;
  • distributed generation geothermal power and heating projects have potential in a number of areas, but are not eligible for the type of support provided other distributed generation projects;
  • challenges to growth of utility scale plants include weak demand, inadequate transmission, permitting delays, and a lack of coordinated policies.

The full report, entitled REPORT ON THE STATE OF GEOTHERMAL ENERGY IN CALIFORNIA, is available at www.geo-energy.org.

About the Geothermal Energy Association

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit www.geo-energy.org. Follow GEA on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

For more information:

Geothermal Energy Association

209 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, District of Columbia
United States, 20003
Tel: 202-454-5261

Shawna Seldon
The Rosen Group
Tel: 917-971-7852
E-mail: shawna@rosengrouppr.com

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