The Aruvians Research report, "Analyzing Geothermal Power in the U.S.," is a survey of American geothermal energy and the economic and regulatory worlds in which it operates.
RelatedExplained: Understanding Geothermal
On a day-to-day basis, geothermal's actual contribution to California's power diet runs at about 900 megawatts, according to the California Independent System Operator. That works out to just under 21,000 megawatt-hours in the course of a day, around 3% of the state's power consumption.
Geothermal isn't without its problems. Geothermal water contains dissolved solids and gases that can be toxic, including heavy metals and hydrogen sulfide gas. Geothermal that relies on native groundwater can have a finite lifespan. California's first geothermal facility, The Geysers north of Napa Valley, has been declining in output since the late 1980s as the aquifer below is depleted.
But some geothermal resources seem to be growing. On Wednesday, Imperial County's Planning Commission approved an expansion of a geothermal plant in Heber. The plant, owned by Ormat, sells up to 92 megawatts of power to Southern California Edison and the Southern California Public Power Authority. The additional four wells approved by the Planning Commission would boost that capacity by around 10 megawatts.