Direct-Use Geothermal Energy

As long at 10,000 B.C.E., Paleo-Indians used hot springs in North American for cooking, and for refuge and respite. Native Americans have a history with every major hot spring in what is now the United States. California hot springs, like at the Geysers in the Napa area, were important and sacred areas to the native people's who lived in those areas.

Today, forty-six of California's 58 counties have lower temperature resources for direct-use geothermal. In fact, the City of San Bernardino has developed the largest geothermal direct-use projects in North America, heating at least three dozen buildings -- including a 15-story high-rise and government facilities -- with fluids distributed through 15 miles of pipelines. Environmentally benign fluids are discharged to surface water channels after heat is used.

Other areas in the state have taped geothermal heated water to warm greenhouses during the winter.

Contacts

For more information on geothermal energy, contact:

California Energy Commission Geothermal Program

Geothermal Program
1516 Ninth Street, MS-43
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-654-4663

U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office

Geothermal Education Office
Marilyn Nemzer, Executive Director
664 Hilary Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920
Phone: 800-866-4436

Geothermal Resources Council
P.O. Box 1350
Davis, CA 95617
Phone: 916-758-2360

Oregon Institute of Technology
Geo-Heat Center
3201 Campus Drive
Klamath Falls, OR 97601
Phone: 541-885-1750

Ground Source Heat Pump Consortium