GTO's New Year Resolutions

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Director’s Note: With the start of the new year comes reflection, and I want to take a moment to thank everyone in the geothermal community for everything you’ve done—and continue to do—to help build a path toward an equitable energy transition. As I look ahead to 2022, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to partner with you.

At the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and especially in the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), it is our job to communicate the facts associated with clean energy and how our investments as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars benefit all Americans. The recently announced Clean Energy Champions campaign is intended to unite our efforts to be even more effective clean energy stewards in 2022 and beyond. Who is a Clean Energy Champion? YOU are—along with everyone who works with, uses, supports, or educates others about clean energy. The campaign is more than just information sharing—it’s a call to action: Be a leader, use renewable energy, and spread the word. DOE believes all Americans can become Clean Energy Champions.

In 2022, GTO will continue to promote the benefits of clean energy and highlight the ways geothermal can help secure a cleaner, healthier, and more just energy future. Please join me Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET for our next quarterly webinar to learn more about our plans for the year.  

—GTO Director Susan Hamm

Riddle me this: What do geologists say to one another at the end of the day?

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Remote, Island, and Islanded Communities Are Eligible to Apply to the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP) 

Earlier this month, DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced a new initiative that will provide assistance through a community-driven approach to ensure isolated communities have the skills and tools needed to advance their energy systems and lower their vulnerability to extreme weather events, energy infrastructure challenges, and changing economic conditions. Communities have until April 15 to complete their application. For more information, visit the ETIPP website.

Geothermal Rising Conference 2022 Abstracts Due Jan. 31

Please submit your abstract for your latest technical work in geothermal research, exploration, policy, development, and utilization by Jan. 31. Accepted abstract authors will be invited to submit their full technical paper or poster for presentation at the 2022 Geothermal Rising Conference (GRC) in August. For more information, visit the GRC website.

SAVE THE DATE: GTO 2022 Peer Review

Mark your calendar and join us at our virtual peer review on May 10, 12, 16, 19, 24, and 26! This is an opportunity for YOU, our geothermal stakeholders, to hear updates on ongoing and upcoming projects. In January 2022, GTO leadership notified project leads that their project will be reviewed; only those contacted will have their project reviewed. If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, please email Registration information will be provided soon; keep an eye out for an email and on GTO’s events webpage.

Four Projects Receive up to $8.4 Million for Accessing Geothermal Energy Production From Hydrocarbon Wells

As part of the Wells of Opportunity initiative, GTO recently announced four new projects that will explore transforming oil wells into geothermal wells to make more renewable power available for schools, rural electric vehicle infrastructure, and local communities. With this funding, GTO is partnering with well owners and operators to use idle or unproductive wells to access otherwise untapped geothermal potential in support of creating a new clean energy workforce and advancing the deployment of more geothermal across the nation.

DOE Signs on to Multi-Agency Memorandum of Understanding to Prioritize Reviews for Renewable Energy Projects on Public Lands

DOE is working closely with the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency to expedite permitting decisions for renewable energy projects in order to reach a carbon-free sector by 2035. Read more.

Prizes and Competitions

Congratulations to the Finalists of the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize

On Jan. 13, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman announced the finalists of the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize. These teams will move on to the Geo! contest, the final competition of the prize, where they will manufacture and test an advanced functional prototype using partner facilities.

The prize, supported by GTO and the Advanced Manufacturing Office, incentives geothermal innovations using 3D printing to address manufacturing challenges fundamental to operating in harsh geothermal environments.

Deadline Approaching for the EnergyTech University Prize

Calling all students! There’s still time to enter the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) for the chance to earn part of $250,000+ in cash prizes, including a bonus prize for geothermal-focused plans. This competition challenges students to identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization—that’s it! Students develop a business plan and present at a regional competition, but don’t have to enact their plans in any way. Plus, you don’t have to be a business, engineering, or science major—students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply!

Submissions are due Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. ET, so don’t wait! Register your team and upload your 200-word summary and brief slide deck on the EnergyTech UP HeroX competition platform today.

Last Call: Apply to the Geothermal Collegiate Competition

Submissions for the 2022 Geothermal Collegiate Competition (GCC) are open through Feb. 17. The competition helps students to unlock the power of geothermal and design geothermal heating and cooling systems. Apply on the competition website.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Overview of Environmental Regulations and Permitting for Geothermal

Interested in learning more about environmental regulations and permitting for geothermal? This event, part of NREL’s GCC webinar series, is on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. ET. Register to learn more!

Leading the Way: CampusEnergy 2022

GTO Technology Manager Arlene Anderson will be speaking about Geothermal Heating and Cooling Technical Assistance for Communities at the CampusEnergy 2022 Leading the Way event on Feb 16 at 4 p.m. ET. Register and visit the website for more information.

GTO Quarterly Webinar

Join GTO on Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET to hear Director Hamm share office updates, highlight ongoing programs, and discuss open opportunities. Register to attend.

Publications and Products

Geothermal: Renewable Energy’s Rising Star

Since 2019, at least 11 new geothermal power purchase agreements (PPAs) have been signed across four states. Read GTO’s latest blog and the 2021 geothermal market report to learn more about PPAs and why they are so important.

New: Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization (REOPT) Web Tool

NREL recently developed a new geothermal heat pump technology module as part of the REopt™ web tool. The new module allows users to simulate the impacts that converting conventional heating and cooling systems to geothermal heat pumps have on the on-site consumption of fuels and electricity, utility costs, and CO2 emissions. The REopt web tool enables users to optimize system sizes and battery dispatch strategies to minimize energy costs and determine how long a system can sustain critical loads during a grid outage, informing resiliency strategies. The geothermal heat pump module was funded by GTO and the Federal Energy Management Program.

In Case You Missed It

Airplane to Make Low-Level Flights Over Southern California

Southern California residents may soon notice low-flying planes near the Salton Sea. These planes are looking for new undiscovered geothermal and mineral resources. Read more.

Geothermal Named One of Top Better Buildings Solutions of 2021

To help its customers reap the benefits of reduced energy consumption, increased reliability, and improved security, Better Buildings Challenge partner Iron Mountain Data Centers developed an innovative, energy-efficient geothermal cooling system at its Boyers, Pennsylvania, site. Recognized as one of the top solutions of 2021, the site is located 200 feet underground in a former limestone mine containing a 35-acre water reservoir. Combined with a surface-mounted free-cooling chiller plant, Iron Mountain’s geothermal cooling system has yielded 34% energy savings. Read more.

Sign Up to Receive Funding Notices from DOE

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has launched a new email list to share its funding opportunities and prizes.

Researchers, entrepreneurs, academics, professionals, and other stakeholders are encouraged to sign up to receive information about open funding programs for all of EERE’s clean energy technologies.

Visit EERE’s Funding Opportunities webpage to register and find additional resources and the latest information.

Geothermal Energy Around the Web

The World Is Hungry for Lithium. Geothermal Energy Could Transform How It’s Sourced. Lithium is essential to the transition to a green economy. Several companies are exploring whether direct lithium extraction from geothermal water could provide a sustainable method for meeting the demand.

The Renewable Energy Source Democrats Hope Will Break Out. Tax credits currently under consideration by Congress could lead to technological breakthroughs needed to propel geothermal into a competitive clean energy resource.

How Does Geothermal Energy Work to Produce Electricity? Geothermal energy is obtained by pumping out hot water or water through hot rocks and back to the surface. Learn more about the process of turning geothermal energy into electricity.

Geothermal Everywhere: A New Path for American Renewable Energy Leadership. By decoupling geothermal from geography, advances in enhanced geothermal systems lay the foundation for “geothermal everywhere” and energy abundance in the United States.

Buffalo Bill Exhibit Shows What Lies on Bottom of Yellowstone Lake. What lies beneath Yellowstone Lake? A new display at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has the answer.

How One Could Really Use Geothermal Energy for the Energy Transition. Geothermal energy is ripe for prime time, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding could make the enhanced geothermal systems transition to commercial use much easier.

Answer: Bye, have a *gneiss* night!

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