Many people have classified the driving resources for the renewable electricity as wind and solar power; however, geothermal electricity has had an increased potential in the past few years and continues to gain momentum.  Much of the hype around geothermal potential for electricity generation is its adaptability.

Geothermal Resource

2009 Geothermal Potential across the United States









What is needed to produce geothermal electricity?

Detailed View of the Geothermal Extraction Process

Detailed View of the Geothermal Resource Extraction Process









A combination of heat from the Earth’s core and an injection fluid circulates and concentrates the geothermal energy in order to extract vapor from the Earth to run necessary turbines and compressors.

Flexible and Reliable: An Antidote for Struggling Transmission Capabilities:

Geothermal energy, according to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) , is an adaptable resource which can support frequency disturbances of plus or minus 5% of the nominal frequency.  This is extremely beneficial for the power grid as transmission and distribution lines experience disturbances of this magnitude for various uncontrollable reasons, which include fallen trees, stray birds that fly through the lines, and even simply an sudden increase or decrease in the load.  To continue, throughout a given day the electric power grid experiences periods of peak demand, in which customers are using an increased amount of electricity, as well as periods of stagnation, in which many of the customers are usually asleep.  GEA experts also cite geothermal electricity generation as a clean energy source that requires less property to produce levels of power comparable to other energy sources that requires acres of space to generate electricity.  They go on to show how geothermal, being a subterranean resource, focuses on a concentrated area rather than needing to spread out necessary equipment, which makes it a valuable resource for the future.

The GEA reported last year that a “typical power producer keeps 35-40% of maximum load in any given year as baseload. They expect geothermal electricity to be a reliable and cost effective to provide baseload power for an ever-growing power grid.

Primary Author: Kyle Brennan

Edited by: Andrew Leuschner


Matek, Benjamin, and Brian Schmidt. The Values of Geothermal Energy. Rep. Geothermal Energy Association and Geothermal Resources Council, Oct. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <>.

Williams, Colin F., and Brenda S. Pierce. The USGS National Geothermal Resource Assessment. Rep. United States Geological Survey and US Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <>