US Potential for Geothermal Power 32 Million Times Higher than Present!
USGS estimates 500,000 MWe of EGS geothermal resource potential lies beneath the western United States. This is approximately half of the current installed electric power generating capacity in the United States.
The US could be producing 32 million times more geothermal electrical power than it does at present.
The U.S. produces more than 100,000 gigawatt-hours per year of geothermal electricity already, but it could produce as much as 3.2 trillion gigawatt-hours.
...the Earth's heat never stops—meaning a geothermal power plant can produce electricity as regularly as a nuclear power plant can. And it also has nearly no emissions of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. _SciAm
Geothermal power plants are currently located in areas with natural hot springs and geysers, such as this planned 15MW plant in the US state Nevada.
Enhanced geothermal will be a whole new ballgame. That is where the lion's share of geothermal power can be tapped, but it will require expensive deep drilling technology which has not yet been perfected for this purpose. It will also require new forms of ultra-deep fraccing of hot rock, to enhance deep crustal heat exchange for energy extraction.
The hazard of earthquate-triggering is routinely hyped and inflated, as is natural whenever a genuinely revolutionary energy technology is considered. But deep geothermal drilling cannot create new seismic faults where none exist, nor will the technology increase tension on pre-existing faults. Enhanced geothermal can either drill in seismically active -- or seismically inactive regions. In the inactive regions, there is no problem. For seismically active locations, the technology of enhanced geothermal is more likely to prevent large earthquakes, by facilitating smaller tension-relieving quakes.
The potential is certainly there. But the technology and the economics needs to catch up to the potential. That will take time and investment. By transferring all investment away from wasteful and ineffectual wind and solar, over to technologies with solid 24 hour / 365 day baseload potential, society would be taking a big step forward.