Geothermal district heating in the U.S.? – actually yes, in Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho (source: flickr/ Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 10 Dec 2018

Not much has been reported on geothermal heating systems in the U.S., but there actually are some good case studies, like the largest geothermal heating system in Boise, Idaho. Started in the early 1980s, it heats large parts of Downtown Boise.

In all the talks on climate change and the role of geothermal energy, we have been reporting on the crucial role of geothermal in the heating sector. In all of this, we have been reporting on efforts in Europe, among others in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Poland, as well as in China, but little to none has been reported from the U.S.

There are direct use examples, e.g. for fish farming, some geothermal spas and greenhouse operations, but very little on geothermal district heating. So recent news on geothermal water-line breaks in downtown Boise in the State of Idaho highlight the fact that here is the largest geothermal heating system in the U.S.

An article shared this week by WCPO Cincinnati, actually provides a great insight into the geothermal heating system, which the city plans to expand.

City of Boise, "This Building Uses Geothermal Heat" by Kenneth FreemanThe geothermal heating system in Boise has been in operation since the 1980s, but actually early parts date back to 1890, when initially Victorian homes were heated. Today, it heats a large part of Downtown Boise, or 92 buildings with about 6 million square feet (about 0.6 million square metres) operated by the Public Works Department for the City of Boise. It is the largest geothermal heating system in the U.S., and heating besides buildings also a swimming pool and sidewalks.

For the full article that provides details on the system etc, see link below.


Source: WCPO Cincinnati