Geothermal capacity could double in 10 years
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
The number crunchers at Pike Research came out with a new report Monday showing that geothermal energy capacity, thanks to an increased level of investment, could more than double by 2020.
Geothermal resources can be tapped to provide a clean and steady base load of electricity production — without weather-dependent fluctuations. Projects such as U.S. Geothermal's Neal Hot Springs development in eastern Oregon have attracted large investments, including a $96.8 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy finalized late last month.
A new report from Colorado-based Pike Research maps out a high-growth scenario with a 134 percent increase in total geothermal capacity between 2010 and 2020. That scenario would more than double the current 10.7 gigawatt capacity to 25.1 gigawatts. A more conservative scenario would increase capacity by 34 percent to 14.3 gigawatts. One gigawatt would power about 600,000 homes.
While geothermal power sources are located around the world, seven countries represent 88 percent of the world market, and the United States is the global geothermal leader with 3.1 GW of installed capacity, according to Pike Research calculations.
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