167 MW Installed Capacity, 11.2% National Energy Production
Kenya was the first country in Africa to exploit geothermal energy commercially. Kenya is ideally positioned in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, a divergent plate boundary with excessive geothermal potential. Kenya [plans to increase geothermal capacity by an additional 576 MW by 2017, reducing foreign oil dependency and covering 25 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
9. El Salvador
204 MW Installed Capacity, 14% National Energy Production
El Salvador’s Ahuachapán geothermal field has provided energy to the country since 1975. Only two geothermal facilities exist in the small Central American country, the second being the Berlin power plant.
536 MW Installed Capacity, .3% National Energy Production
Due to its close proximity to the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc, a convergent boundary of four tectonic plates in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” Japan is ideally located for geothermal activity. Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and J-Power currently head Japan’s geothermal business efforts.
575 MW Installed Capacity, 30% National Energy Production
Iceland’s five major geothermal power plants not only generate electricity for nearly one-third of the country, but also provide nearly 90 percent of the heating needed for water and buildings. Iceland’s geothermal potential is so great that it actually heats city streets near geothermal fields throughout the winter.
6. New Zealand
700 MW Installed Capacity, 10% National Energy Production
New Zealand is the second country after Italy to apply geothermal energy at a national scale. With unpredictable weather patterns, New Zealand’s geothermal installations have provided consistent energy generation over all other renewable energy sources in the country.
843 MW Installed Capacity, 10% National Energy Production
Italy was where the very first geothermal power plant was built at the Larderello dry steam field in Tuscany. Larderello is where the first modern geothermal plants were constructed as well. Destroyed in World War II, the plants have since been rebuilt. Ancient Romans used the geothermal heat in the region to warm their water and run heat vents to keep buildings warm.
958 MW Installed Capacity, 3% National Energy Production
Mexico is home to the largest geothermal power plant in the world. The Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station has a 720 MW installed capacity, and plans are in place for expansion to 820 MW by 2012. CerroPrieto is located on the border of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California Norte, just south of California USA.
1,197 MW Installed Capacity, 3.7% National Energy Production
Indonesia holds 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential beneath its thousand of volcanic islands, accounting for an estimated 28,000 MW of potential energy. Indonesia is on track to develop 44 new geothermal power plants by 2014, raising capacity to 4,000 MW, and the country plans to produce 9000 MW from geothermal by 2025.
2. The Philippines
1,904 MW Installed Capacity, 27% National Energy Production
The Philippines has been using geothermal energy to power the multi-island nation since 1977, when the country’s first geothermal power plant was built on the island of Leyte. Chevron—the largest geothermal producer in the world—has invested over $2 billion into Philippine geothermal energy installations, escalating the Philippines to number two in our top ten.
1. The United States
3,086 MW Installed Capacity, 0.3% National Energy Production
As of 2010, the United States tops the world in geothermal energy production, with 3,100 MW of installed capacity. 77 geothermal power plants and growing generate 15 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The majority of the United States’ geothermal energy comes from the western states, and if tapped to their full capacity, geothermal reserves beneath just nine of the United States’ 50 states could provide upward of 20 percent of the nation’s electricity needs.
The largest known dry steam field in the world is just north of San Francisco, California. “The Geysers” geothermal hotspot has over 1,500 MW of installed capacity. Calpine Corporation currently taps 15 of the 18 power plants operating in the Geysers, making it the largest geothermal energy producer in the United States. Northern California Power Agency, Santa Clara Municipal Electric Utility and US Renewables Group own and operate the remaining three facilities in the Geysers and a nineteenth plant is soon to be opened by Ram Power.