First Activity Through NSF-DOE Memorandum of Understanding Will Bolster Ambitious Geothermal Energy Goals

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a new internship program to support the goals of DOE's recently launched Enhanced Geothermal Shot. The new NSF-DOE collaboration is part of NSF’s INTERN program and will support 10 to 20 six-month research internships per year to work in the geothermal industry on projects that advance geothermal technologies. This is the first activity coordinated through the NSF-DOE Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2022, which aims to formalize the agencies’ longstanding partnership on scientific and engineering research to bolster national energy policy.

“We are very excited to support emerging geothermal energy professionals alongside our partners at the National Science Foundation,” said Alejandro Moreno, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE. “Geothermal energy already provides enough electricity to power more than 2.7 million American homes, but this is just a small portion of its vast potential. Investing in the geothermal energy workforce will help unlock this resource and put new, clean, dispatchable electricity on the grid.”

“Training diverse graduate students for careers in geothermal energy, whether in academia, industry, or government, will enable the United States to speed growth in clean energy technologies and support our research and industrial leadership,” said Dr. Susan Margulies, NSF Assistant Director for Engineering.

The Enhanced Geothermal Shot aims to bring enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) to Americans nationwide and includes a goal of reducing the cost of EGS by 90% by 2035. It is part of DOE’s Energy Earthshots Initiative to help break down the biggest remaining scientific and technical barriers to tackling the climate crisis. Energy Earthshots support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while creating jobs and growing the economy. EGS holds huge promise as a firm, flexible source of electricity, as well as heating and cooling, but research and innovation to drive down costs and realize this potential will require significant growth in the geothermal energy workforce.

Established in 2017, the NSF INTERN program (formally known as Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students) provides over 250 graduate students per year with six-month research internships where they can acquire core professional competencies and skills. The NSF INTERN program encourages the participation of graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

More information about the Geothermal INTERN opportunity is available on NSF’s website.