Prior to the research efforts of the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, no commercial geothermal power from the predominant liquid-dominated hydrothermal resources was generated in the United States. Today, the U.S. is the world leader in online capacity of geothermal energy and electric power generation. Geothermal energy accounted for 4% of renewable energy-based electricity consumption in the U.S. in 2007 and, as of April 2010, the nation has a total installed capacity of 3086.6 MWh.
Current federal funding of geothermal research and development is authorized by statute to support the U.S. geothermal industry in providing diverse and secure domestic energy supply options. This support also helps the industry maintain a technical edge in world energy markets, thereby enhancing exports of U.S. goods and services and U.S. job growth.
Risk assessments are used to evaluate planned and ongoing technology development activities. They provide a better understanding of the potential for research and development investments and possible impacts to utilities, environmental groups, and industry. Read the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)'s 2007 and 2009 reports for a detailed risk analysis of our annual research, development, and demonstration portfolio.
Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan
The Geothermal Technologies Office plans its research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) efforts through a detailed Geothermal Technologies Multi-Year RD&D Plan that is updated every two years. This document provides input to Program planning budgeting and analysis.