The U.S. Dept. of Energy is dedicating $84 million to help demonstrate enhanced geothermal pilot projects. (Photo courtesy: NREL)
The U.S. Department of Energy is dedicating $84 million to help demonstrate enhanced geothermal pilot projects.
DOE issued the request for information to utilize investments in geothermal energy that were included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Under the legislation, the agency is allowed to support four competitively selected pilot projects that demonstrate enhanced geothermal systems in different types of geology.
Geothermal energy can provide 24/7 clean energy, but geothermal technologies have lagged behind cheaper, variable alternatives like wind and solar. Advancements in enhanced technologies, meanwhile, have stretched geothermal energy's feasible application beyond the handful of states where favorable geology exists to support power plants.
Enhanced geothermal systems use manmade reservoirs to enable heat recovery for energy generation in areas where geothermal resources exist but cannot be accessed using conventional methods.
In Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, areas otherwise geologically excluded from geothermal energy development, there is growing interest in the potential for enhanced geothermal power generation. Those states have the ability to lean on the region's oil and gas expertise, too.
DOE has a goal of deploying more than 60 GW of geothermal electricity generating capacity by 2050. The U.S. had 2.5 GW of operating geothermal capacity as of 2019, while roughly half of that capacity came online in the 1980s.
Fort Bliss is among the U.S. military installations included in a request for information about potential geothermal power use by the Dept. of Defense (Courtesy: David Poe/Fort Bliss Public Affairs)
The Department of Defense has likewise taken interest in the potential of geothermal electricity generation,
The defense agency requested information on March 7 related to powering at least 14 installations, with the potential for more, across the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The RFI is also open to the potential use of district heating and cooling through direct use heat at installations.
Private companies are invited to share information about geothermal or hybrid projects, as well as guidance on contract lengths, costs, resource availability, and potential risks.