DOE Funds Initiatives That Improve Geothermal Energy

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is committing $84 million to showcase upgraded geothermal pilot programs. The department issued a call for evidence to use geothermal energy funding featured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

The Act allows the government to fund four carefully picked pilot programs that exhibit enhanced geothermal activities in different types of topography.

Generally, geothermal energy can offer clean electricity. Nevertheless, geothermal advancements have trailed behind more affordable, renewable alternatives like solar and wind power. 

Meanwhile, advances in improved technology have expanded geothermal energy’s possible application further than the bunch of states where suitable geology exists to enable power facilities.

Advanced geothermal technologies use man-made ponds to facilitate heat recovery for power generation in regions where geothermal assets exist but cannot be accessed using traditional means.

There is significant interest in the development of expanded electricity production in several states, which are otherwise geographically precluded from geothermal energy developments. These states can also draw on the region’s oil and natural gas capabilities.

The DOE intends to deploy over 60 GW of geothermal power generation potential by 2050. As of 2019, the United States had 2.5 GW of operational geothermal capability, with nearly half of that capacity coming online in the 1980s.

The DoD is also open to the idea of geothermal energy generation. On March 7, the defense agency asked for more information about supporting at least 14 installations throughout the Army, Navy, and Air Corps, with the possibility for more. The RFI is also interested in the possibility of utilizing local heating and cooling via direct use of energy at facilities.

Private firms are encouraged to contribute information regarding geothermal or hybrid developments, as well as advice on contract durations, pricing, material availability, and potential dangers. Interested companies should respond to the RFI before April 21.

EGS, which has been researched ever since the 1970s, generates energy from hot impenetrable rock formations, foreseeably reaping a heat resource that is prevalent worldwide.

The DOE forecasts that the standard geothermal power resource capability in the United States is roughly 530 GW, with a possibility for direct usage of 231 GW by 2050.

Nonetheless, efforts to produce EGS have remained minimal in size, owing mostly to low reservoir volume, drilling difficulties, and generated seismicity. The current output of geothermal energy to US power capacity is less than 1%; yet, the potential output seems to be more than 8% before 2050.


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