Geothermal energy is California’s most constant form of renewable energy. Unlike wind and solar, which are not always constant, geothermal can be sourced year-round, all day long.
This makes the geothermal energy a key asset in California’s goal to obtain 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The California Energy Commission will host a workshop on April 19 that provides an overview of the agency’s support of geothermal energy. The workshop, which begins at 1 p.m. in the Arthur Rosenfeld Hearing Room, includes a discussion with stakeholders about the future of geothermal in California.
Geothermal energy is an almost limitless energy source. The energy exists in the form of hot water or steam trapped in cracks and pores under layers of impermeable rock underground.
It is here that geothermal reservoirs form – and where wells are subsequently driven. The steam or water harvested from the reservoirs powers turbines for electricity.
There are 44 operating geothermal power plants in California, with an installed capacity of 2,716 megawatts. In 2015, geothermal energy produced 11,994 gigawatt hours of electricity in California and accounted for 4.4 percent of the state’s total system power.
Earlier this month, the Energy Commission released a notice of proposed awards for five geothermal projects totaling $4.7 million. The money would fund five geothermal projects, including $1.4 million to demonstrate a novel water-free method of extracting energy from hot dry rock.
The projects require approval from the Energy Commission at a business meeting. The grants will fund projects such as local and regional planning and exploration and research.
The funding would come from the Energy Commission’s Geothermal Grant and Loan Program. The program promotes development and maintenance of California’s vast geothermal energy resources.