AZGS's Leadership Role in Geothermal Resources Assessment at the State and National Level
Since the 1970s, AZGS geoscientists have been engaged in evaluating and characterizing potential geothermal hot spots throughout central and southern Arizona. That effort yielded several dozen reports, numerous well-hole data, and maps assessing the potential for geothermal energy. Derivative products include geothermal development plans for most of Arizona's counties. All geothermal reports of the AZGS and it predecessors, e.g. Arizona Bureau of Mines, are available as free downloads at the AZGS Online Document Repository.
National Geothermal Data System (NGDS). In October 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded AZGS, acting on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists, $17.8 million to build a nationwide digital geothermal data system. AZGS spearheaded a coalition of 45 state geological surveys, the US Geological Survey, and academic partners, including Southern Methodist University, to build and populate the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) with state-specific geothermal data. In June 2014, NGDS was formally launched at the White House Energy Datapalooza event.
As of 2017, NGDS includes 10 million geothermal related data objects:
- 1.85 million well headers
- 666,800 borehole geophysical logs
- 2 million borehole lithology data records
- 815,600 digital geologic map features
- 14,000 direct use and heat pump facilities, among other things.
For a preview of each state's geothermal data, see the 62 p. National Geothermal Data System Atlas.
A key objective of the NGDS is to provide an integrated, distributed, and searchable data system to support research efforts to identify, assess and exploit geothermal energy resources across America. This national collaboration of state and federal agencies, universities, and energy consortiums can reshape Americas energy landscape, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and leverage non-renewable petroleum resources well into the 21st Century.
The accompanying map shows the location and temperature of Arizona's hot springs, regions of known or potential geothermal resources, wells with elevated water temperatures, thermal resorts, and aquaculture plants, and illustrates the State's strong potential for geothermal energy production.
Geothermal: Pertaining to the heat of the interior of the Earth.
Geothermal Energy: Energy extracted from the Earth's internal heat.
Source: Dictionary of Geological Terms, 3rd edtn., eds.:
R.L. Bates & J.A. Jackson