It may not be as shiny as solar or as obvious as wind, but no matter how you slice it – geothermal energy is a powerhouse when it comes to renewable energy generation.
As I highlighted in my book, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks…geothermal actually holds significant advantages over other forms of renewable and fossil fuel-based energy.
* It’s one of the cheapest forms of energy
* It produces almost 50 times less CO2, nitric oxide, and sulfur emissions than conventional fossil fuel power plants
* It requires no power storage
* It’s perfect for baseload power (power that’s generated all the time). Geothermal power plants run at 89 to 97 percent uptime, compared to 75 to 90 percent uptime offered from coal and nuclear
* The supply of geothermal energy is virtually inexhaustible
So it’s no surprise that geothermal energy capacity is expected to grow 89% between now and 2015 – from 11,007 megawatts at the end of 2008 to over 20,800 megawatts in the next six years.
Take a look…
And to add more fuel to this geothermal fire, the Obama administration has been extremely aggressive in its push to increase geothermal development in the U.S.
Since the President took office, a wealth of economic support has found its way to the geothermal industry.
* February 18, 2009 — The DOE announces investment of up to $84 million to support the development of enhanced geothermal systems.
* May 27, 2009 – President Obama announces $350 million in Recovery Act funding for geothermal projects
* June 2, 2009 – Secretary Chu announces $50 million in Recovery Act funding to advance the commercial deployment of geothermal heat pumps.
According to Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association, this is more funding now than in the past 20 years.
And we suspect that this new love affair with geothermal will not be short-lived. Especially when you consider the amount of power we could potentially produce from our vast geothermal resources.
According to an M.I.T. Study, there are over 100 million quads of accessible geothermal energy worldwide. Yet the the world only consumes about 400 quads. And just in the U.S. alone, there are about 14 million quads of recoverable geothermal energy – or about 140,000 times our current consumption.