Three American towns now
have more than 80 years of combined experience with municipal
geothermal heating districts and
are expanding their systems.
by sETH MasIa
Copyright © 2011 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
With 3,100 megawatts (MW) of installed geothermal electric generation capacity and more than 7,000 MW in development, the United States is the world leader in that technology. There’s another, more direct way to
tap a geothermal well, in which volcanically heated water or
steam is brought to the surface to meet space-heating, water-
heating and process heat needs. Geothermal heat is widely used
in Iceland but hardly anywhere else. Three American towns
have been successful in developing their hot-springs resources
as municipal heating districts. All three now plan system expan-
The pioneer town was Boise, Idaho. The town’s original