Dear Geothermal Energy,
Happy Geothermal Day! Today, we are celebrating you and only you, one of our favorite sources of renewable energy. While hidden beneath the crust, we know how valuable you are. Let us count the ways we love you:
- You are green. You offer energy by tapping into the heat that flows continuously from Earth's interior to the surface, which can be extracted without burning fossil fuels, such as coal, gas, or oil.
- You are always there for us, and you're flexible. We love that you are a reliable source of clean energy that is not weather dependent—meaning the heat beneath our feet is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep us powered, warm, and cool. Your power output can also be ramped up or down, responding quickly to our needs.
- You're an old, familiar friend but also offer exciting new opportunities. You've been used for U.S. electricity generation for more than six decades—and for district heating in Boise, Idaho, since 1892! Yet you come up with new opportunities all the time, like enhanced geothermal systems that can help create geothermal electricity nationwide.
- You can store energy for later. You offer energy storage capabilities underground, which are critical for grid stability and flexibility and complement intermittent renewables, like solar and wind.
- You have great potential. In the United States, you have the potential to generate 90 gigawatts of electricity by 2050, the equivalent of powering more than 65 million U.S. homes. You can also heat and cool homes, businesses, and even entire communities, with potential for more than 17,000 district heating systems and the equivalent of 28 million geothermal heat pumps by 2050!
- You have a tiny footprint. If all sources of renewable energy were challenged to generate the same amount of power, you would do it using the fewest resources and least space.
- You can be anywhere you are needed. Your energy goes beyond the power sector. Your geothermal heat pumps offer efficient heating and cooling systems for homeowners, communities, and businesses across the country.
- You can meet other needs for our clean energy future. For instance, extracting lithium from the brines used in your power production can provide a domestic supply of this critical mineral, which is essential for battery storage and electric vehicles. You can also help support things like hydrogen production.
- You can help remote communities. You can be deployed in rural and electrically islanded communities. You can also supply heating and cooling and small dispatchable electricity production to those that might be relying on propane and diesel for their heating needs.
Thank you for being you, geothermal. You are clean energy powerhouse that can help lead our nation to a fully decarbonized grid and net-zero economy.
Your adoring fans at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy