WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $14.5 million in new funding to advance geothermal energy development. The Efficient Drilling for Geothermal Energy (EDGE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will focus on geothermal drilling in support of accelerating the research and development of innovative geothermal energy technologies in America.

“Advancing research in geothermal drilling technologies will help harness the heat beneath our feet to expand our domestic energy resources,” said Daniel Simmons, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Geothermal is a reliable, baseload renewable energy source with firm and flexible operation, allowing it to provide a range of essential services that contribute to our nation’s grid stability and resiliency.”

Geothermal energy represents a clean, efficient, and nearly inexhaustible domestic energy resource. The U.S. currently has an installed geothermal capacity of more than 3.8 gigawatts (GW), and there is an estimated 100 GW or more of additional potential geothermal development accessible in undiscovered hydrothermal and enhanced geothermal systems. Technological innovation is necessary to economically convert these resources into cost-effective energy services. DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) supports early-stage research and development (R&D) to achieve these necessary technological breakthroughs.

The EDGE FOA aims to continue and expand GTO’s R&D in geothermal drilling by covering three topic areas:

  • Topic Area 1 focuses on early-stage R&D projects to reduce common delays in drilling operations like lost circulation, stuck pipe, unstable wellbores, and other issues that take time away from deepening the hole, typically referred to as non-drilling time.

  • Topic Area 2 focuses on early-stage R&D projects in innovative drilling technologies that improve the rates of penetration for drilling geothermal wells.

  • Topic Area 3 focuses on exploring innovative approaches and models to accelerate the transfer of geothermal drilling and related technologies from the laboratory into the real world by focusing on building partnerships that will increase adoption of nascent technology and improving knowledge transfer in the geothermal industry. 

The application process will include two phases: a Concept Paper phase and a Full Application phase. Applicants must first submit a Concept Paper by 5 PM ET on May 31, 2018 to be eligible to submit a Full Application.

More information on the EDGE FOA can be found on the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange. For more information on the Geothermal Technologies Office, visit their website HERE.