Governor Jared Polis of Colorado and chairman of the Western Governors’ Association of the U.S. has launched a bipartisan initiative that seeks to encourage geothermal energy generation in Colorado and other Western states. The initiative is called “Heat Beneath Our Feet (HBOF)” and was announced during the Western Governors’ Association meeting. More details on the initiative are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
“As the incoming Chair of the bipartisan Western Governors Association, I am excited to establish the Heat Beneath Our Feet as my initiative because geothermal energy is an opportunity to save people money, boost local economies, and help us achieve 100% renewable energy in Colorado by 2040,” said Gov. Polis.
Through the HBOF initiative, WGA will evaluate geothermal energy technology development in the Western States and assess the potential benefits it would offer. The U.S. possesses approximately 25% of the world’s installed geothermal energy capacity, and 95% of that is in the Western States. Bringing the WGA bipartisan leadership focus to exploration provides an opportunity for collaborative development.
Two bipartisan bills on geothermal research, education, and implementation have been previously signed by Gov. Polis during the 2022 legislative session:
- HB22 – 1381 seeks to create a grant program for homeowners, private organizations, and local governments that want to research, develop, and invest in geothermal processes. This bill is set to launched in the fall of 2022.
- SB22 – 118 seeks to provide basic consumer education and guidance for geothermal energy systems and creates business models for geothermal projects in the state. Such statutory provisions have previously been made available to solar energy, but this bill seeks to extend these to geothermal.
A number of private geothermal developers, research laboratories, and allied services have expressed support for the HBOF initative.
“There is no better time to turn WGA’s attention to the ‘Heat Beneath Our Feet’. Geothermal energy is a zero-emission resource that can yield the highest economic value of any renewable resource in the West. It is also uniquely positioned to address the emerging resiliency and resource adequacy challenges of the next decade.” said Ormat Technologies VP Paul Thomsen.
“The Western United States is blessed with enormous geothermal resource potential. This resource can be tapped for heating and cooling, electricity production, and even energy storage and mineral production. It is always available and thus a natural complement to variable renewable energy sources, providing firm capacity to stabilize grids and allowing decarbonization of heating and cooling. Despite all this, growth in the U.S. geothermal sector has been slow over the past three decades. If we are serious about decarbonizing energy in the Western US, we need to start taking advantage of the heat beneath our feet.” said National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Laboratory Program Manager for Geothermal Amanda Kolker.
“The Heat Beneath Our Feet initiative marks an important step forward for the geothermal industry, building on recent technology breakthroughs and market developments currently driving a resurgence in our sector. Fervo Energy applauds Governor Polis and the Western Governor’s Association for their leadership in tapping the enormous potential of geothermal to be a key enabler of a secure, cost-effective, and carbon-free power grid throughout the western United States,” said Fervo Energy Co-Founder and CEO Tim Latimer.
Source: Government of Colorado