Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for up to $14.5 million to support active field testing of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technologies and techniques within existing wells. EGS, like all geothermal resources, supplies secure, resilient renewable electricity and heating and cooling that is always-available regardless of weather, and with a small environmental footprint.
The Wells of Opportunity 2021 FOA, solicits the partnership of well owners or operators to help cost-effectively bring more geothermal power online using their existing wells.
There is vast potential for geothermal energy in the United States, but only 3.7 gigawatts electric (GWe) of energy are currently installed. The DOE Geothermal Technologies Office’s (GTO) 2019 GeoVision study concludes that with technology improvements, especially in areas relevant to enhanced geothermal systems, geothermal power generation could increase 26-fold from today, representing 60 GWe by 2050.
“This new funding will help us tap into its enormous potential to power millions of homes and businesses and put thousands to work in good-paying clean energy jobs,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “Making use of the stranded heat beneath our feet and putting idle or underproductive wells to use for power generation will help us transition this important renewable resource closer to widespread deployment.”
The Wells of Opportunity 2021 FOA builds upon the progress of last year’s initial Wells of Opportunity FOA, released in February 2020, by focusing on two topic areas:
- Topic Area 1 – Amplify: EGS Near-Field RD&D: This field validation effort will result in new power production, making existing geothermal fields more economical to operate. The goal of Amplify is to illustrate that near-field and in-field enhanced geothermal systems that can be successfully deployed now.
- Topic Area 2 – ReAmplify: Geothermal Production from Hydrocarbon Wells: This effort seeks to establish the commercial viability of geothermal energy production from hydrocarbon wells that might provide access to otherwise untapped geothermal potential.
Full applications are due by 5:00 p.m. ET on July 26, 2021. Please view the FOA and application instructions for more information.