How California Can Expand U.S. Geothermal Energy Production (EERE/GTO)
California is privileged to have access to a variety of robust energy resources, particularly geothermal energy. It produces more geothermal power than any other state, and alone accounts for more than 20% of total geothermal energy production worldwide. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrated the importance of adding even more geothermal energy to California’s grid, which could translate to potentially hundreds of millions of dollars saved annually in operations, maintenance, and statewide utility bills.
Even with this firm potential, developing new geothermal energy in a competitive California energy market remains a challenge for several reasons – some technical, others market-based. To address these concerns, DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) in recent months partnered with the California Energy Commission (CEC), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and several private foundations. Within a series of both formal and informal industry gatherings, including a key forum held last fall, several leading trends have emerged.