Should the U.S. Expand its Use of Geothermal Resources? Lessons from Iceland
MetadataShow full item record
In this capstone project, geothermal energy is investigated both in its role in the United States, as well as in Iceland. The feasibility of geothermal energy for electricity production will be analyzed within a framework of technical, economic, environmental, and political implementation. Key background information about geothermal energy as a resource, as well as technology used to capture this energy are explored initially. The United States and Iceland’s resource base differs, and does their approaches to utilize this renewable resource. This analysis is demonstrative of the challenges any energy resource faces. An assessment of the geothermal market at this time will lead to a general advisement on resource potential in the United States. Iceland has made an amazing transformation from one of the poorest countries in Europe dependent upon peat and coal for its energy needs to becoming a global leader in renewable energy, creating an industry profiting from abundant power, and increasing the quality of life among its citizens. The United States is currently the world leader in both geothermal electrical generation and deployment of geothermal heat pumps (Tester and Horne, 2014). The question is, how many sites are truly suitable for Enhanced Geothermal Systems expansion? With the highest grade reservoirs already discovered, are we able to, and should we, engineer more reservoirs to produce electricity?