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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA


May 13, 2015
Press Release
Resolution recognizes importance of geothermal energy as green, reliable source of renewable energy, critical to meeting both state and national energy goals

Washington, D.C. U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) today applauded the California State Senate for passing SCR 48, which recogizes the importance of geothermal energy to California by marking May 2015 as Geothermal Awareness Month and May 21, 2015 as Geothermal Awareness Day. The resolution is authored by Senators Mike McGuire (D – Healdsburg) and Ben Hueso (D – San Diego).

“Geothermal energy embodies several unique traits, including low integration costs, a small land footprint, and most important, a predictable, consistent and adaptable source of energy production that can accommodate the needs of power grids,” said Thompson.  “It is not dependent on the weather, season or time of day, and provides a dependable source of base load power.  It supports thousands of jobs across our district and state, and provides counties with important royalty payments which they depend to provide public services. I applaud Senators McGuire and Hueso for passing their resolution recognizing the importance of geothermal energy.”

In 2013 alone, the California Energy Commission found that geothermal energy production in California supplied nearly 24 percent of the state’s renewable energy.  And, the United States Department of Energy projects geothermal electricity generation could quadruple through 2040, helping California and other states meet their renewable energy goals.

Thompson has repeatedly and successfully fought to protect geothermal royalties from harmful federal budget cuts. Geothermal revenue sharing was first started through the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005. Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, the counties should share in the revenue. Counties use geothermal revenues to pay for governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. Many of the counties receiving revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural counties facing uncertain budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services. Revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners in the continued development of geothermal energy – a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides jobs in rural areas.

In Fiscal Year 2014, Lake County received more than $959,000 in geothermal royalties and Sonoma County received more than $1,315,000 in geothermal royalties.

“The geothermal industry is a major employer in the local communities where projects are located, providing a diverse range of full-time employment opportunities as well as contractor jobs throughout all phases of development and operation,” states Senators McGuire and Hueso’s resolution, SCR 48.

California is home to the largest geothermal power facility in the world called The Geysers.  Located north of San Francisco in Lake and Sonoma Counties, The Geysers is one of two places in the entire world where high temperatures and dry steam can be directly converted to generate power.  The Geysers alone accounts for 36 percent of the geothermal energy produced in North America, again illustrating the importance of renewable energy for both California and the nation.


Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties.  He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.


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