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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 51 (1967)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1905

Last Page: 1905

Title: Geothermal Energy: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Merrill J. Reynolds

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The search and utilization of geothermal energy commenced in Italy in the early 1900s. Today, Italy produces sufficient Previous HitpowerNext Hit from geothermal energy to operate its entire network of electric railroads. This amounts to approximately 400,000 kw.

One hundred areas in 15 different countries are being explored for geothermal energy. Other countries which are currently utilizing geothermal energy are: Iceland, for domestic and industrial heating; Japan, for electrical Previous HitpowerNext Hit and recovery of salt from sea water; and New Zealand, U.S.A., and Mexico for electrical Previous HitpowerNext Hit.

The Geysers area of northern California was first investigated for its geothermal potential in 1922. The project was not successful as there was sufficient electrical Previous HitpowerNext Hit being produced from fossil fuel and by hydroelectric plants.

The rapid industrialization and population explosion in the western states have led to an increase in demand for energy. From 1945 to 1960, electrical Previous HitpowerNext Hit production increased 239% for the nation and 252% in the western states. The FPC predicts a 275% rise nationally by 1980, based on 1960 Previous HitpowerNext Hit demands, with a forecast of 320% rise for the western states. To meet these demands for electrical Previous HitpowerNext Hit, all forms of energy known to man must be harnessed.

The first commercial geothermal Previous HitpowerNext Hit production, in the United States, began at The Geysers in 1960 at the rate of 12,500 kw. In April 1967 the capacity was increased to 56,000 kw. It is estimated that the capacity can be increased to 1,000,000 kw.

Recognizing geothermal energy as a source of Previous HitpowerNext Hit, the U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a nation-wide investigation of all geothermal areas which may have this potential. The state Bureaus of Mines of California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico have conducted their own studies to evaluate their geothermal areas.

Locating a geothermal area which may have commercial Previous HitpowerNext Hit potential is difficult. The most obvious areas of hot springs and geysers currently are being investigated. It is conceivable the areas which may hold the greatest potential cannot be detected at the surface.

The drilling and development of a geothermal area are extremely hazardous and expensive, but technical problems will be solved, and costs reduced, as future increased Previous HitpowerNext Hit demands escalates the exploration for geothermal Previous HitpowerTop.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists