Geothermal power roadmap to next generation unveiled by DOE

Published on March 22, 2024 by Liz Carey

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On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its latest Pathways to Commercial Liftoff report focusing on the next generation of geothermal power.

The report, the ninth installment in the Liftoff series, shows how advanced geothermal technology could increase U.S. geothermal energy production twentyfold to 90 gigawatts or more by 2050. The geothermal energy production growth would support President Joe Biden’s goals of facilitating a carbon-free electricity grid by 2035, while creating thousands of good-paying jobs, officials said.

“The US can lead the clean energy future with continued innovation on next-generation technologies, from harnessing the power of the sun to the heat beneath our feet, and cracking the code to deploy them at scale,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The newest report in DOE’s commercial liftoff series showcases the enormous potential for geothermal energy and that with strong public-private partnerships we can lower costs for this hot technology to expand access for cleaner, more reliable power to communities across the nation.”

The report found that next-generation expansion could not only increase geothermal energy production, but also provide a way to transition the existing oil and gas workforce to a more sustainable energy industry. The report said next-generation geothermal has starting advantages that position it for rapid scale due to transferrable and existing technology, supply chains and workforces, and that its use of existing geothermal resources would eliminate the need for human-made reservoirs or systems in the subsurface, making heat resources accessible nationwide. Competitive pricing for geothermal power will also position it as a cost-effective energy source, the report said.