Environmental Protection

Geothermal Power Costs and Benefits Examined

The Geothermal Energy Association released a new paper that explores the public economic costs and benefits of geothermal energy.

Geothermal energy is an affordable power source, according to an analysis of several government and private sector reports published in 2014. The Geothermal Energy Association released a new paper titled “The Economic Costs and Benefits of Geothermal Power” that examines the public economic costs and benefits of geothermal energy.

Geothermal power “compares favorably with other technologies currently available according to three difference analyses published in 2014,” the authors state. The reports were issued by the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

The paper looks at the direct economic benefits of geothermal power. Unlike other renewables, geothermal power produced on federal lands is based upon leases that are sold competitively, generating bonus bids, and subsequent production is subject to royalty payments. According to the Department of the Interior, geothermal generated $15 million in fiscal year 2014. Also, state lands involved in geothermal power production generate additional revenues, often dedicated to support education. California, for example, reports $4 million received from geothermal production involving state lands.

The significant number of jobs created when geothermal power is developed is also examined in the report.  GEA estimates that for every 100 MW of geothermal power, the industry provides 170 permanent, full-time jobs.  In addition, geothermal power creates 310 annual construction and 330 annual manufacturing/equipment jobs for every 100 MW of new installed capacity.

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