US invests $165m to expand geothermal energy deployment

A consortium of experts will develop a roadmap for addressing technology and knowledge gaps in geothermal energy, based on best practices used within the oil and gas sector

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An investment of up to $165 million (£135m) has been announced to expand the deployment of domestic geothermal energy in the US.

The Geothermal Energy from Oil and Gas Demonstrated Engineering (GEODE) initiative will provide $10 million (£8.2m) to establish a consortium of experts to develop a roadmap for addressing technology and knowledge gaps in geothermal energy, based on best practices used within the oil and gas sector.

The Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to an additional $155 million (£127m) in research to address the gaps.

Up to $10 million (£8.2m) of the funding will be used to select the organisation to run the GEODE effort and create a roadmap for research and outreach initiatives.

According to the DOE, although the US geothermal resource is vast, only a small portion of it has been developed due to the challenges associated with subsurface environments, as well as process issues of geothermal projects such as long permitting timelines.

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

It estimates geothermal deployment can expand at least 60GW of clean power capacity – enough to power more than 40 million US homes – through industry collaboration.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “The US 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.

“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.”