A new report issued by the US Geothermal Energy Association concludes that California's in-state "geothermal resource base could supply more power than is currently used by all of the state's investor- owned utilities combined." But the report warns that "a business as usual approach toward resource identification and development will not result in these resources being developed in a timely manner."
The study of the states gothermal resources indicate that "California's geothermal reserves could produce between 5,000 and 25,000 Megawatts (MW), depending upon different assumptions," according to Karl Gawell, executive director of the US Geothermal Energy Association. But, "the total potential of the resource base is likely to be significantly greater," the report concludes.
The report proposes a new approach to realize California's geothermal potential. "California needs to launch a collaborative government-industry effort that works towards the systematic identification and development of these resources," commented Gawell.
Otherwise "it would not appear likely" that a large portion of the state's geothermal resource base will be developed, the report concludes. "Without a new directive, the stalemate between government and the marketplace will limit new geothermal development in California outside of the already identified and leased or owned areas," according to Gawell.
If a new approach is successful, the resulting benefits to the state could be substantial. "The potential for geothermal resources to contribute to the state of California's energy goals is far greater than most imagine," Gawell stated.
The complete report can be found here.