Pilot Projects Will Work to Scale EGS, And Help Provide Renewable Geothermal Energy to over 65 Million American Homes
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a funding opportunity of up to $74 million for up to seven pilot projects that will test the efficacy and scalability of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Directed by the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the pilot projects will use innovative technology and a variety of development techniques to capture the Earth’s abundant heat resources in diverse geologic settings. Through this investment, DOE hopes the research and development from the findings would demonstrate the growth and ultimate potential for geothermal energy to provide reliable, around-the-clock electricity to tens of millions of homes across the country. This is DOE’s first funding opportunity for geothermal energy since the launch of the Enhanced Geothermal ShotTM , part of DOE’s Energy EarthShots Initiative, which seeks to cut the cost of geothermal energy 90% by 2035.
“Advances in enhanced geothermal systems will help introduce geothermal energy in regions where, until recently, the use of this renewable power source was thought to be impossible,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “These pilot demonstrations will help us realize the enormous potential of the heat beneath our feet to deliver clean, renewable energy to millions of Americans.”
Geothermal energy currently generates about 3.7 gigawatts of electricity in the United States, but a new analysis shows it could provide 90 gigawatts of firm, flexible power to the U.S. grid by 2050, as well as heating and cooling solutions nationwide. This substantial geothermal energy potential is, however, largely inaccessible with conventional geothermal technologies. The use of geothermal energy for electricity requires three elements: heat, fluid, and a permeable section of the Earth’s crust. While heat exists everywhere underground, many locations lack adequate water and/or permeability. EGS employ human-made underground reservoirs to enable the fluid flow necessary to draw geothermal energy to the surface, where it can be captured to power homes across the country. Achieving this goal would make geothermal energy a clean, cost-effective option across the country, while spurring progress toward President Biden’s goals of 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Applications for the BIL-funded EGS Pilot Demonstrations will be accepted over multiple rounds. First-round letters of intent are due March 8, 2023, and first-round applications will be due June 16, 2023 (corrected). Learn more and read the full Funding Opportunity Announcement.
To help a broad and inclusive range of interested entities apply, DOE is providing a voluntary Teaming Partner List where interested parties can provide contact information and their expertise for use in forming partnerships.
Learn more about EGS and other geothermal research in DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office.