Geothermal Industry Landscape

04.10.08 | 1 Comment

One of the more frustrating aspects of attempting to enter the geothermal industry is that it is small, fragmented, and insular. Most of the players have been in the business for more than 30 years, have seen the boom/bust cycle, and consequently are wary of newcomers during a boom cycle. The people who make up the core of the industry are the survivors from prior cycles and they can be difficult to reach.

Instead of focusing on the people, which would be counter-productive, a tour of the companies and organizations working in and around the geothermal industry might be useful for our readers. Roughly speaking, there are developers, operators, industry groups, and service providers. We’ll focus more on the developers and operators in this entry, but will list a few industry groups and service providers. This entry is North America focused, there are clearly well developed resources in Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, the Philippines, Mexico, and Indonesia. There are emerging projects in Africa, Asia Minor, and South America. This entry will not cover those areas explicitly.

Developers are the folks out there trying to create new projects from untapped and/or underutilized resources. Often times, developers are also operators, it’s just a function of where the team happens to be in the development cycle. There are private and public companies engaged, for the most part, it’s the public companies who are visible.


  • Vulcan Power Company – Proponents of the “green gigawatt plan” with 7 properties in various stages of development.
  • Nevada Geothermal – Developing four projects in Nevada and Oregon including the Blue Mountain project.
  • Sierra Geothermal – Has a portfolio of 17 projects including the Reese River project in Nevada.
  • Raser Technologies – Recent entry into the developer category with 12,000 acres and multiple projects in-flight.
  • Western GeoPower – Longtime developer with two projects in-flight, a 35MW project at The Geysers and another in Canada.
  • Many, many more small, under the radar shops (including MeV, publisher of this site.)


  • Chevron – The world’s largest producer of geothermal power with 1,273MW in Indonesia and the Philippines.
  • Calpine – The leading US geothermal producer with 750MW in 19 plants at The Geysers.
  • Ormat – The largest “pure play” geothermal company. Ormat designs and develops geothermal harvest technology and operates nearly 400MW of power plants.
  • Constellation – Operates the Mammoth and Soda Lake geothermal plants in California and Nevada.
  • Cal Energy – Operates the Imperial Valley plants in California.
  • Caithness/ArcLight – Operates 347MW across 5 plants in California and Nevada.
  • US Geothermal – Operates the Raft River project in Idaho.
  • Polaris Geothermal – Operates the San Jacinto Tizate plant in Nicaragua.
  • US Navy – The Geothermal Program Office works in conjunction with Caithness in the operation of the Coso plants in California and may develop other resources on military lands in the Western US.

Industry Groups

This service provider list is suggestive of the kinds of providers out there and some of the leaders, it is by no means complete. There are many, many service providers available to this nascent industry.

Service Providers

  • Geothermex – A full-service geotechnical service provider well known for characterizing resources in advance of project financing.
  • ThermaSource – An engineering company known for its drilling capabilities and execution at The Geysers.
  • UTC Power – Subsidiary of United Technologies, producer of the first standard, modular, and scalable geothermal harvest systems.
  • Stoel Rives – Law firm specializing in renewable energy deals, with specific expertise in geothermal projects.
  • Jacob & Company – Canadian firm specializing in using the public markets (Toronto Venture Exchange) for project financing.
  • US Renewables – Renewable energy venture funding source with geothermal projects and expertise.
  • US Government – Has many agencies available to provide help and guidance (and regulation.) The Bureau of Land Manaement (BLM,) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,) Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC,) Department of Forrestry (DoF,) and Department of Energy (DoE.)

We hope this has been an educational entry, we may do a deep dive on each company listed above over time. We certainly do comment periodically on the progress of projects as the news becomes public. If we’ve missed any developer/operator in the US (and it’s very possible we have) leave a comment and we’ll evaluate inclusion going forward.

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