Boise is one of the world's leading geothermal cities
10, 2009 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Cynthia Sewell The Idaho Statesman
week world leaders gathering in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change
Conference are feeling the geothermal heat that is part of the energy solution
for Copenhagen and for cities and countries around the world. In fact, Copenhagen
could meet 50 percent of its district heating needs by using its geothermal resources.
Copenhagen in the spotlight this week as an example of geothermal's potential,
the Geothermal Energy Association has identified 10 leading geothermal cities
around the globe.
Boise made the list for several reasons: the city's public
works department has the largest direct use geothermal system in the U.S.; the
city's geothermal system injects 100 percent of the water back into the aquifer;
the Idaho State Capitol is among several buildings in the Capitol Mall area that
are heated by the system and Boise built its first geothermal heating system in
Last week the Boise City Council passed three resolutions furthering
its commitment to using geothermal resources -- increasing the city's geothermal
pumping limit, tying in with the Warm Springs water district to supplement its
geothermal supplies and setting a policy for extending city geothermal lines to
These agreements represent an "opportunity to maximize a
resource that is about as good as it gets when it comes to climate change. Lowering
our carbon footprint and being responsible with resources to the benefit of our
citizens," Mayor Dave Bieter said during the Dec. 1 council meeting.
to Boise, other cities the international geothermal association recognized as
examples of world leaders in geothermal municipal development include:
Denmark: Having set a target of zero carbon emissions by 2025, Copenhagen is a
leader in clean energy alternatives and could meet 50 percent of its district
heating needs by using its geothermal resources.
--Reykjavik, Iceland: With
a high level of geothermal activity and insightful developments by the Icelanders
over the years, 87 percent of Iceland's buildings are heated geothermally.
Nevada: City and business leaders have been encouraged by the success and remarkable
potential of the energy source and are marketing Reno as a geothermal center for
industry activities, corporate offices and research facilities.
Perth has declared its intention to enter the geothermal community with a new
twist -- as the very first geothermally cooled city with commercial geothermal-powered
heating and air-conditioning units.
--Xianyang, China: Recently deemed "China's
Official Geothermal City," in the largest emissions-producing nation in the world,
Xianyang is helping China achieve the goal they set of 16 percent renewables by
2020 -- up from 7 percent in 2005. Also of note, Beijing famously used geothermal
pumps to power the 2008 Olympics.
--Madrid, Spain: Madrid's regional government
is on board with six renewable energy projects, one of which is a 8-megawatt geothermal
district heating project.
--Masdar City, Abu Dhabi: The city's goal is to function
100 percent on renewable energy; a shining example to the rest of the world. The
city plans to obtain half of its power from geothermal resources.
Falls, Oregon: Geothermal has been used for space heating since the turn of the
century and for a variety of uses including heating homes, schools, businesses,
swimming pools, and for snow melt systems for sidewalks and highway. In addition,
geothermal provides Oregon Institute of Technology's 11-building campus all of
its heating needs.