Geothermal Energy Association Reports U.S. Industry Expansion

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"Total number of U.S.-based geothermal projects and prospects under development increased 12% in Q111."

Geothermal energy is spreading throughout the United States, according to the yearly update on the geothermal industry from the Geothermal Energy Association.

According to a release, the annual Geothermal Energy Association's U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report shows that in 2011, the geothermal industry is producing clean power in nine states and developing 146 projects across 15 states, with the total number of geothermal projects and prospects under development increasing 12%.

Officials noted that the United States ranks number one in geothermal energy production and continues to be one of the head countries in geothermal growth. The total installed capacity of the U.S. is approximately 3,102 MW, enough to power over 2 million homes. Currently, geothermal electric power generation is occurring in nine U.S. states, including: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

"The geothermal industry has an exciting year ahead, as there are numerous projects switching from development phases to full-fledged geothermal power plants," said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. "And a second wave of development is on its way. This report reveals that many projects are entering the drilling and production phase, which is where the majority of geothermal job creation is."

The report shows that as the majority of the industry remains concentrated in the western U.S., pilot projects are beginning to show development potential further east. New projects are focusing on generating geothermal electricity from low temperature fluids left over as a byproduct from oil and gas production and harnessing electricity from geothermal fluids under high geological pressure along the Gulf of Mexico.

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