U.S. geothermal energy capacity grew 6 percent in 2009, and there are many more projects on the horizon.
Geothermal energy capacity expanded 6 percent in the United States in 2009, due to six new geothermal plants which came online, adding 176.68 megawatts (MW). Three projects came into service in Nevada, with one apiece in California, Oregon and Utah. The total online capacity in the U.S. reached 3,152.72 MW as of August 2009, according to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), an industry trade association.
Plus, there is further expansion on the horizon. GEA has identified 6442.9 MW of new U.S. geothermal power plant capacity under development, though some of those may not go forward. However, there are seven projects with an estimated 125 MW of capacity that have drilling and facility construction underway.
Those projects include two in California totaling 85 MW; one in Florida generating 0.2 to 1.0 MW; three in Nevada totaling 39.4 MW; and one in Oregon producing 0.2 MW. The Florida and Oregon projects will be the first geothermal projects in those states. One of those projects — at Jay Oil Field in Florida — will use the hot water produced by oil and gas wells to generate power. Two such projects started up in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2009, and more are planned for Louisiana, Nevada and Wyoming.
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