US launches new Energy Earthshot to slash geothermal power costs

The Department of Energy aims to reduce its cost by 90% to $45 per megawatt hour by 2035

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new Energy Earthshot aimed at cutting the cost of geothermal energy systems.

It is part of the department’s new goal to make enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) “a widespread renewable energy option” in the US by reducing its cost by 90% to $45 (£39) per megawatt hour by 2035.

According to the DOE, more than five terawatts of heat resources – enough to meet the electricity needs of the entire world – exist in the US and capturing even a small fraction of this could affordably power more than 40 million US homes.

It is investing in research and development that is expected to help the country access its full geothermal potential and reach the Enhanced Geothermal Shot goals.

Recent investments include $44 million (£38m) to help spur EGS innovations for DOE’s Frontier Observatory for Geothermal Energy Research (FORGE) field laboratory and up to $165 million (£143m) to transfer best practices from oil and gas to advance both EGS and conventional geothermal.

An additional $84 million (£73m) in funding also supports four pilot EGS demonstration projects that will provide valuable information about EGS in different geographies and geologies.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “The United States has a vast, geothermal energy resource lying right beneath our feet, and this programme will make it economical to bring that power to American households and businesses.

“DOE’s Enhanced Geothermal Shot will move geothermal technology from research and development to cost-effective commercial adoption, helping energy communities and workers transition to producing clean energy for the future.”