The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a new initiative that aims to dramatically reduce the cost of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) by 90% to USD 45 per MWh by 2035. The “Enhanced Geothermal Shot” is part of the Energy Earthshots Initiative which targets the remaining solution points of the most challenging technical problems of the energy economy.
Only a small portion of the geothermal energy—the “heat beneath our feet” —that exists in the United States is accessible with current technology. However, research and innovation to advance enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), which create humanmade reservoirs to access energy that was previously stuck below ground, can unlock these resources and put new, clean, dispatchable electricity on the grid.
Investments in EGS can unlock affordable clean energy for over 40 million American homes and exponentially increase opportunities for geothermal heating and cooling solutions nationwide. Achieving the Enhanced Geothermal Shot will go a long way toward reaching President Biden’s goals of 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions across the U.S. economy by 2050.
The Enhanced Geothermal Shot will work towards the goal by aggressively accelerating research and development to:
- Drive down the costs of drilling, well casing, and other materials and equipment;
- Advance engineering techniques to drill longer, wider wells faster and with more wells in each area;
- Collect more and better-quality data to better understand the subsurface and more accurately predict the best locations for geothermal drilling;
- Help ensure new reservoirs and all geothermal fluids are contained to specific subsurface areas.
The Enhanced Geothermal Shot will build upon DOE’S research and development work on EGS, particularly those of the Utah FORGE Project. We have previously reported on the updates on the Utah FORGE project with a webinar recap.
DOE is partnering with the National Science Foundation to provide complementary research and workforce development programs to reach the goals of the shot. DOE also plans to engage with federal, state, and local officials, community groups, industry, and others on activities associated with the Enhanced Geothermal Shot.
Source: US Department of Energy