Biden-Harris administration sends geothermal energy projects $60 million

Biden-Harris administration sends geothermal energy projects $60 million

February 22, 2024 0 By Julie Campbell

Through the Investing in America strategy, the DoE selected three projects for investment

As a component of the Investing in America strategy of the Biden-Harris administration, the US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced that it is investing up to $60 million in three geothermal energy projects.

The projects are focused on improving system efficiency and scalability

The geothermal energy projects that have been selected to receive a total of up to $60 million from the DoE are focused on the improvement of efficacy and scalability of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). The funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The selected geothermal energy projects

The selected pilot projects will focus on developing and using innovative tech as well as a spectrum of techniques to capture the naturally occurring heat within the Earth and use this resource as a form of renewable electricity that is reliable and cost-effective. This technology will be used for heating millions of homes and businesses across the United States while aligning with Biden’s target of achieving 100 percent clean electricity in the country by 2035.

More broadly, the selected geothermal energy projects are also supporters of the Enhanced Geothermal Shot goals of the DoE. Those goals are to reduce EGS costs by 90 percent within that same span of time.

Expanding renewable electricity

“These projects will help us advance geothermal power, including into regions of the country where this renewable resource has never before been used,” said Jennifer M. Granholm, US Secretary of Energy. “With significant investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these pilot demonstrations will help us realize the full potential of the heat beneath our feet to reduce carbon emissions, create domestic jobs, and deliver clean, cost-effective, reliable energy to American nationwide.”

Geothermal Energy - Money, green jobs

Three geothermal energy projects

The three projects selected to receive the funding are the following:

Fervo Energy

This pilot project is located in Utah’s Milford Renewable Energy Corridor and is neighbors with the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) field laboratory from the DoE. The project seeks to generate at least 8 megawatts of power from each of the site’s three geothermal energy wells which currently don’t have any existing commercial electricity generation.

Chevron New Energies

This EGS pilot project will demonstrate new simulation and drilling methods for capturing geothermal energy close to an existing EGS field in northern California’s Sonoma County.

Mazama Energy

The funding for this project will support its demonstration of a unique new super-hot EGS that has temperatures greater than 375ºC on the west side of Oregon’s Newberry Volcano. The goal is to move forward the science necessary to conduct these types of activities under conditions in which extreme heat is involved.

Tapping the potential of underground heat reservoirs with geothermal energy

hydrogen news ebookProducing electricity using this form of renewable power involves sending a fluid under the Earth’s surface to areas where hot rock naturally exists. The fluid is heated by the rocks and is extracted to the surface in the form of either hot water or steam. 

The challenge is that while there is heat underground everywhere on Earth, many locations have inadequate water resources or otherwise have conditions that aren’t appropriate for sending water below the surface to recover the heat there. EGS is used in those conditions that are less than ideal in order to build an underground reservoir from scratch, where geothermal energy can be tapped.

Currently, this type of renewable power generates round four gigawatts of electricity in the US, but a recent analysis released by the Department of Energy indicates that by bringing EGS technology forward, that figure could be increased to 90 gigawatts of reliable electricity for the American grid by 2050. This amount of electricity could heat the equivalent of 65 million homes in the country while also supporting heating and cooling solutions.

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