Posted by: Peter Black | July 14, 2008

Enhanced Geothermal…100 Gigawatts of Energy waiting to be tapped

“100.21 Gigawatts!!!”

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With all of the hoopla surrounding gas prices in the US, one solution that hasn’t been talked about much is geothermal. A year and a half ago, an MIT report concluded that around 100 Gigawatts of economically viable energy (in 2006 prices…probably more in today’s economic climate) could be had in the lower 48 states. That’s enough energy to power 50 million or so homes, or about 75 Deloreans back to the future…

Being into geography, I of course, want to know where the geothermal resource lies. Is it fairly uniform across the country? Or is it centered in the west? Fortunately, the good folks at the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab have been keeping tabs on the ins and outs of this renewable resource. I’ve taken their data and made a map of where the resource lies, on a national scale, and put it into google map format:geothermal1.jpg

The maps make it clear that the geothermal potential is scattered throughout but the real low hanging fruit is in the western US. So is there anything happening on BLM land in the west? Yes there is.
state_geothermal.jpg
This map shows where the utility scale enhanced geothermal leases are on BLM land in the US.

The MIT report’s executive summary is a pretty good read. I suggest it for anyone interested in learning more about enhanced geothermal energy and it’s potential.


Responses

  1. […] month, I blogged about the renewable resource beneath our feet: more than 100 gigawatts. Have a look again at this […]

  2. UPDATE…the new estimate is over 500 gigawatts!!!

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/09/530-gigawatts-geothermal-power-potential-united-states.php


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