Carbon Footprint

Square Footprint

Smoke Stack 400
Clouds 400

36.7 kg CO2e / MWh

55.3 ft2 /
MWh

Carbon Footprint

Square Footprint

Smoke Stack 800
Clouds 800

36.7 kg CO2e / MWh

55.3 ft2 / MWh

If the average US home's annual electricity (10.72 MWh) was powered by geothermal, you would use:

46.3

Gallons of Gasoline Equivalent

393.2

kg CO2e
If the average US home's annual electricity (10.72 MWh) was powered by geothermal, you would use:

46.3

Gallons of Gasoline Equivalent

393.2

kg CO2e

The Carbon Footprint of geothermal power is 36.7 kg CO2e per Megawatt Hour (MWh). The greenhouse gas emissions of geothermal power are 13.2 times lower than natural gas.

If the average US home's annual electricity (10.72 MWh) was powered by geothermal for 100 years, you would use:

4.1

Parking Spaces Equivalent

593

ft2
Parking Spaces 800
If the average US home's annual electricity (10.72 MWh) was powered by geothermal, you would use:

4.1

Parking Spaces Equivalent

592

ft2

The Square Footprint of geothermal power is 55.3 ft2 per Megawatt Hour over 100 years. The land use of geothermal power is 15.3 times lower than natural gas.

Data and Assumptions

Carbon Footprint:

  • Lifecycle Carbon Footprint of Geothermal Power is based on NREL (2021). Median value of 36.7 g CO2e / kWh is based on a harmonized value from 15 studies with 35 unique values.
  • Lifecycle Carbon Footprint of Natural Gas based on NREL (2021). Median value of 486 g CO2e / kWh is based on a harmonized value from 58 studies with 93 unique values.
 

Land Use:

  • Square Footprint of Geothermal Power is based on Trainor et al. (2016). Value of 5.14 km2 / TWh (5.14 m2 / MWh) is reported in the study. Land use is 55.3 ft2 / MWh, based on this estimate. As geothermal energy is a renewable resource, this value does not change over time, and includes all the land required to supply energy on the same parcel of land indefinitely.
  • Square Footprint of Natural Gas based on Trainor et al. (2016). The combined land use factor is 0.79 km2 / TWh (0.79 m2 / MWh), which equals 78.6 m2 / MWh over 100 years, or 845.5 ft2 / MWh over 100 years. Land use varies by the method of natural gas extraction. See the Natural Gas Power Carbon Footprint & Environmental Impact page for the assumptions made.
  • Square Footprint of a Parking Space is 144 ft2, based on the average dimensions stated by Franklin Street (2019).
 
General Assumption:
  • Average 2020 US Household annual electricity of 10,715 kWh is based on EIA (2021A).
  • Carbon Footprint of gasoline is 8.50 kg CO2e / gallon, based on EIA (2021B).

References

EIA: US Energy Information Administration. (2021A). How Much Electricity Does an American Home Use?. See Link to Source

EIA: US Energy Information Administration. (November 18, 2021B). Carbon Dioxide Emissions Coefficients by Fuel. See Link to Source

Franklin Street. (May 23, 2019). How Large is a Parking Space? See Link to Source

NREL: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2021). Life Cycle Assessment Harmonization. See Link to Source

Trainor, A. M., McDonald, R. I., & Fargione, J. (2016). Energy sprawl is the largest driver of land use change in United States. PloS one, 11(9), e0162269.