New State-by-State Guides Show Geothermal Uses for Meeting New EPA Standards

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Geothermal Resources Council (GRC), Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), and Geo-Exchange Organization (GEO) Collaborate to Support Geothermal Use in Clean Power Plan

The Guide for Colorado

Geothermal energy is in an ideal position to help states meet emission reductions and their clean energy targets.

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC), Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), and Geo-Exchange Organization (GEO) announce the release of guidance for states on meeting new clean energy standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The free state-by-state guides walk through the benefits and uses of three major types of geothermal applications: power generation, direct use and heat pumps, and initially cover Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, and Colorado.

The materials are available at no cost and provide state officials, regulators and the public with information about geothermal energy uses in their individual states as decision-makers choose which forms of energy will be deployed to meet the requirements of the U.S. Clean Power Plan. Geothermal power generation boosts jobs and the economy, according to the state guides. It is produced locally, reduces carbon emissions and has a small environmental footprint. For utilities, geothermal is a reliable, sustainable investment.

States now need to adopt and submit a state plan by September 6, 2016. The amount of geothermal that will be added to the grid during this opportunity for clean energy growth depends on key western states deciding to implement their potential for geothermal energy development. For a handful of states with high geothermal potential, building just one or two new power plants would offset all their emissions reductions.

“Geothermal can be an important part of state clean power plans, particularly when all of the benefits of firm and flexible geothermal provides are taken into account,” said Ben Matek, GEA Analyst and Research Projects Manager. “The Guides we are providing today will help overcome a major hurdle for geothermal – lack of recognition,” said Karl Gawell, GEA Executive Director. “We hope the states will recognize geothermal energy is part of the solution, and that each has potential it can tap.”

Large-scale geothermal power plants directly employ an estimated 1.17 persons per MW, according to the guides. They account for nearly $6.3 to $11 million dollars in property taxes over the lifetime of the power plant and provide multiple benefits to the environment including lowered emissions and water consumption compared to other forms of baseload generation. Geothermal energy is always available. Geothermal power projects are in development in Churchill, Washoe, Mineral and Lander Counties in Nevada and other locations in Western states.

“Geothermal energy is in an ideal position to help states meet emission reductions and their clean energy targets,” said Paul Brophy, GRC President.

The guides provide examples of current geothermal district heating consumers including the Sheriff’s Office, the old Post Office, Elko County School District and other residents and businesses in the city of Elko, Nevada.

“Geothermal heat pumps can have a significant impact on fossil fuel consumption and are well-suited for states seeking to meet emissions reduction and renewable energy targets,” said Doug Dougherty, GEO President and CEO. “We encourage regulators to use these guides to better understand the role the entire spectrum of geothermal technology can have in their plans.”

Geothermal heat pumps can operate efficiently at shallower depths and lower temperatures than power plants, making them available in any U.S. state or territory. Notable users of geothermal heat pumps include Pahrump Valley High School near Las Vegas, Nevada.

The guides are online at: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provided the templates and data.


About the Geothermal Resources Council:

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) is a non-profit educational association comprised of over 1,300 members from around the world. With the experience and dedication of its diverse, international membership bolstering a 45‐year track record, the Geothermal Resources Council has built a solid reputation as one of the world’s preeminent geothermal associations advancing geothermal development through education, research and outreach. For more information, please visit Get your daily geothermal news at Global Geothermal News. Become a fan on Facebook. Follow GRC on Twitter.

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 Subscribe to GEA’s newsletter here. Follow GEA on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

About the Geothermal Exchange Organization:

The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) is The Voice of the Geothermal Heat Pump Industry in the United States. As a non-profit trade association, we promote the manufacture, design and installation of GeoExchange® systems—the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating and cooling technology in the world. Our mission is to support our members’ business objectives while promoting maximum, sustainable growth of the geothermal heat pump industry through Advocacy, Partnerships, Public Outreach and Promotion of Quality Standards.

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