Sunday, March 06, 2011

Arizona geothermal industry still in its infancy

Geothermal energy in Arizona is used not to produce electricity but instead helps grow fish, algae for biofuel, greenhouse tomatoes, along with providing hot water in spas and resorts. A new report from GeoHeat Center at the Oregon Inst. of Technology and Bob Lawrence and Associates, counts 84 direct jobs in the geothermal industry leading to 210 total direct, indirect, and induced jobs statewide.

The new report calculates geothermal energy production in Arizona currently as equivalent to 89 million kWh per year.

The report does not go into detail on ground source heat pumps, but that seems to be growing rapidly. AZGS has received dramatically more inquiries in the past year from homeowners looking for contractors to install systems, and from drillers interested in getting into business.

We are hearing of residences, businesses and large industrial facilities incorporating these geothermal heat pumps after years of naysayers proclaiming they won't work in Arizona's dry soils.

The Arizona report comes from the GHPsRUS Project - a three-year effort to measure the potential economic, environmental, and social benefits of nationwide geothermal heat pump (GHP) deployment. "GHPsRUS" is short for "Geothermal heat pumps are U.S."

Ref: "The Economic, Environmental, and Social Benefits of Geothermal Use in Arizona," Andrew Chiasson, Geo‐Heat Center, Oregon Institute of Technology, March 2011, 5p.

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