Senate bill would accelerate geothermal energy development

Published on October 25, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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A bill introduced this week in the Senate is seeking to accelerate geothermal energy development in the United States.

The Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act of 2019, or the AGILE Act, would further the research and development of geothermal systems in a variety of ways, including resource assessment updates, grant program authorization, and improved permitting.

“Geothermal is a highly reliable, zero-emission resource able to provide both heat and power almost anywhere,” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “Our committee’s June hearing highlighted the opportunity geothermal holds to contribute to America’s energy future, with expanded innovation and deployment. Our new bill addresses both technical and non-technical barriers that have kept us from realizing geothermal’s full potential.”

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Up to 60 gigawatts of geothermal power could be developed in the United States by 2050 through innovation and regulatory reform, according to the Department of Energy.

“As Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I’ve maintained my belief that we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy and doubled down on my commitment on advancing clean energy technologies,” Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “To that end, I’m proud of the innovative work being done at West Virginia University and the National Energy Technology Lab to explore geothermal possibilities in West Virginia. The Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act will enhance support for important research, like that at NETL, to identify and explore deeper or lower temperature resources and illustrate that geothermal can work anywhere – including Appalachia.”