What is the potential for geothermal energy production in the United States?

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Geyser in West Basin of Yellowstone National Park. Image Copyright © Bruce Molnia, Terra Photographics

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a comprehensive assessment of U.S. geothermal resources in 2008, summarized in the fact sheet Assessment of Moderate- and High-Temperature Geothermal Resources of the United States:

"The assessment indicates that the electric power generation potential from identified geothermal systems is 9,057 Megawatts-electric (MWe), distributed over 13 states. The mean estimated power production potential from undiscovered geothermal resources is 30,033 MWe. Additionally, another estimated 517,800 MWe could be generated through implementation of technology for creating geothermal reservoirs in regions characterized by high temperature, but low permeability, rock formations [enhanced geothermal systems]."

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