The figures contained in a new report from the USA’s Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) reveal that although US growth was flat it still accounted for 85MW of the total global 530MW of new geothermal capacity in 2013.
US additions in Utah, Nevada, California, and New Mexico kept the industry on the map domestically in 2013, and future growth looks promising. “The geothermal resource base is still largely untapped,” noted Ben Matek, GEA’s Industry Analyst. “With new initiatives in Nevada, California and Oregon moving to recognize the values of geothermal power, we are optimistic that state policies could spark another period of growth in geothermal power over the next decade,” he added.
However, the United States could be overshadowed in the future as a world leader in geothermal energy production. The US currently has about 1,000MW in the pipeline and 3,400MW of installed. Indonesia, alone, has 4,400MW of planned capacity additions in the pipeline.
In terms of established nameplate capacity, the US still outpaces the Philippines (1,904MW in 2013) and Indonesia (1,333MW).
Significant geothermal development growth is expected worldwide over the next few years. In East Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia there are power plants built that are over 100MW – four times the average size of those in the US.
South American nations such as Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Honduras have significant potential, but are in the early stages of identifying their resources. The GEA estimates that Chile is actively developing 50 projects and prospects.