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Geothermal energy in the U.S. - Statistics & facts

Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years for cooking and heating purposes. Modern technology has allowed us to harness it more effectively and its popularity has gradually grown in regions around the world, represented by an increasing number of new geothermal power installations. Geothermal energy is derived from the energy found within the Earth’s crust. Heat is produced continuously by magma, which itself is heated by the natural decay of radioactive materials such as uranium and potassium. It is estimated that the amount of heat stored within 10,000 meters of the Earth’s surface contains about 50,000 times more energy than all of the oil and gas resources worldwide.

Geothermal power potential varies across the world based on the seismic activity that occurs under the earth’s surface and its geology. Regions with milder heat can be also be used, primarily for direct heating purposes. This heat energy is normally extracted from shallower depths. Dry rock formations between four to ten kilometers below the surface can also provide vast amounts of heat energy. However, geothermal energy may be most efficient in areas with high underground temperatures – “hot spots” with active or geologically young volcanoes. One example for which is the Pacific Rim or the Ring of Fire, located along Alaska, California, and Oregon. The United States has the largest installed nameplate capacity of geothermal energy in the world. California is home to the greatest number of geothermal plants and also houses the largest geothermal field – The Geysers – which is made up of 18 individual plants.

In 2019, over 16 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated using geothermal sources in the United States. This was more than in any other country worldwide. However, capacity additions have slowed in recent years.
Costs for operating and maintaining geothermal power plants are some of the highest in the country when compared to other energy technologies. The least expensive geothermal plant type still had annual fixed costs of 113.29 U.S. dollars per kilowatt hour and variable costs of 1.16 U.S. dollars per megawatt hour. Of the roughly 200,000 people employed at utilities, only a little over one thousand worked at geothermal stations.

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Geothermal energy in the U.S.

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Geothermal energy in the U.S. - Statistics & facts

Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years for cooking and heating purposes. Modern technology has allowed us to harness it more effectively and its popularity has gradually grown in regions around the world, represented by an increasing number of new geothermal power installations. Geothermal energy is derived from the energy found within the Earth’s crust. Heat is produced continuously by magma, which itself is heated by the natural decay of radioactive materials such as uranium and potassium. It is estimated that the amount of heat stored within 10,000 meters of the Earth’s surface contains about 50,000 times more energy than all of the oil and gas resources worldwide.

Geothermal power potential varies across the world based on the seismic activity that occurs under the earth’s surface and its geology. Regions with milder heat can be also be used, primarily for direct heating purposes. This heat energy is normally extracted from shallower depths. Dry rock formations between four to ten kilometers below the surface can also provide vast amounts of heat energy. However, geothermal energy may be most efficient in areas with high underground temperatures – “hot spots” with active or geologically young volcanoes. One example for which is the Pacific Rim or the Ring of Fire, located along Alaska, California, and Oregon. The United States has the largest installed nameplate capacity of geothermal energy in the world. California is home to the greatest number of geothermal plants and also houses the largest geothermal field – The Geysers – which is made up of 18 individual plants.

In 2019, over 16 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated using geothermal sources in the United States. This was more than in any other country worldwide. However, capacity additions have slowed in recent years.
Costs for operating and maintaining geothermal power plants are some of the highest in the country when compared to other energy technologies. The least expensive geothermal plant type still had annual fixed costs of 113.29 U.S. dollars per kilowatt hour and variable costs of 1.16 U.S. dollars per megawatt hour. Of the roughly 200,000 people employed at utilities, only a little over one thousand worked at geothermal stations.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Geothermal energy in the U.S.".

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