The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced an agreement with New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to collaborate on the advancement of geothermal technologies.

The overarching goal between DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and MBIE’s Labour, Science and Enterprise Group is to establish a framework for cooperation in the development of advanced, cost-effective geothermal energy technologies; accelerate the availability of geothermal technologies worldwide; and identify and address wider issues relating to geothermal energy, such as induced seismicity and mineral recovery. The proposed areas for collaboration include the joint development and improvement of modeling tools, mineral recovery, direct use applications, and supercritical geothermal systems.

"Geothermal represents a clean, nearly inexhaustible baseload source of electricity, which makes it a viable renewable energy source both here in the United States and worldwide," said Timothy Unruh, EERE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power. "This new research partnership with New Zealand will connect experts from both countries to collaborate on a mutually beneficial basis to advance and accelerate the development of geothermal technologies."

Currently, the United States is the world leader in installed geothermal capacity, with more than 3.8 gigawatts (GW) online. New Zealand, with nearly 1.07 GW of installed capacity online, is also rich with natural geothermal resources, supplying more than 17% of the country’s electricity. New Zealand also has a long history of applying direct use for heating and cooling needs, as well as for industrial processes.

The agreement builds upon the relationship and renewable energy goals the United States and New Zealand share as members of the International Partnership for Geothermal Technology (IPGT), which strives to accelerate the development of geothermal technology through international cooperation. The United States founded the IPGT in 2008 and New Zealand joined in 2011.

IPGT representatives have been in Taupō, New Zealand, this week discussing directions and outcomes of current research and development projects as part of its annual conference. DOE and MBIE officials signed the statement of principles for cooperation during the event.

Learn more about EERE’s Geothermal Technologies Office.