Safe and effective, geothermal energy has been used by mankind for over 10,000 years. Evidence shows that North American Paleo-Indians regularly used geothermal hot springs for warmth, cleansing and minerals. In the first century AD, Romans used geothermal energy to heat public baths and floors, and the world’s oldest geothermal district heating system has been operating since the 14th century in France. America’s first district heating system was powered directly by geothermal energy in 1892 in Boise, Idaho.
Geothermal heat energy is naturally produced by the Earth, originating from the natural radioactive decay of certain materials within the Earth’s crust. Temperature differences between the core of the planet and its surface drive a continuous conduction of thermal energy from the core to the surface.
After centuries of use for bathing and space heating, geothermal energy is now recognized for electricity production. Worldwide, 12,000 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power are currently online with 2,000 MW of installed capacity in the western United States. There’s also an additional 28 gigawatts of geothermal heating installed for space heating and multiple other applications around the world.
Geothermal power is cost-effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, but it has historically been limited to areas in the western U.S., where natural caldera formations occur. Population growth and technological advancements make geothermal energy production ever more appealing.
Calpine Corp (NYSE: CPN), Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA) and U.S. Geothermal (NYSE MKT: HTM) are recognized players in geothermal energy production. Of these, U.S. Geothermal is the largest pure play geothermal independent power producer. The company currently produces 45 MW from three existing assets in Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho. U.S. Geothermal also has four advanced development properties in California, Guatemala, and Nevada, with 90 MW capacity in their pipeline, plus four more early-stage properties in development.
Geothermal provides base load power 24/7 without interruption, is clean and renewable without significant output deterioration, and is not subject to the vagaries of commodity fuel prices. Publically-traded geothermal energy companies, such as U.S. Geothermal, now provide the opportunity to profit from our planet’s creation.
For more information, visit www.USGeothermal.com