Energy Dept. Providing $165M to Expand US Geothermal Energy Sector

August 1, 2022 by Dan McCue
Energy Dept. Providing $165M to Expand US Geothermal Energy Sector
Geothermal energy in New Mexico. (Bureau of Land Management photo)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Energy is investing a total of $165 million to spur the growth of the geothermal energy sector in the United States.

The department’s goal is to form a consortium of experts who will then use best practices derived from the oil and gas industries to identify knowledge gaps in the realm of geothermal energy and technologies needed to see the sector thrive.

Ten million dollars is being allocated for the first phase of the project, called the Geothermal Energy from Oil and Gas Demonstrated Engineering initiative.

While $155 million will support the future research that grows out of the consortium’s work.

“The U.S. has incredible, untapped geothermal potential beneath our very feet, which can be harnessed to meet our energy demands with a round-the-clock, clean renewable resource,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a written statement. 

“Leveraging the extensive knowledge, technology, skill, and experience of the oil and gas sector is the perfect way to tackle barriers to geothermal deployment while also giving fossil-fuel-based communities and workers a role in the transition to clean energy,” Granholm said.

Although the U.S. geothermal resource is vast, only a small portion of it has been developed due to unique challenges associated with subsurface environments, along with process issues of geothermal projects, such as long permitting timelines, the department said in a press release. 

Energy officials said oil and gas and geothermal industries have numerous similarities that provide new opportunities for geothermal expansion — from advances in drilling and well construction to co-production possibilities in existing oil and gas basins. 

They believe accessing the expertise, technologies, and experience of the larger domestic oil and gas industry can help overcome barriers and encourage private investment. 

Together, these advances and access to capital can help the country realize the exponential growth potential of geothermal energy, they said.

Through industry collaboration, geothermal deployment can expand at least 60 GW of clean, reliable electricity-generating capacity — enough to power more than 40 million American homes. 

Applications for GEODE are due by Oct. 28. 

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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  • Department of Energy
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