US DOE announces funding opportunity for community geothermal projects

US DOE announces funding opportunity for community geothermal projects U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C (source: flickr/ cliff1066™, creative commons)
Carlo Cariaga 4 May 2022

A Notice of Intent published by the U.S. Department of Energy alludes to a funding opportunity for community-scale geothermal heating and cooling projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the intent to release funding of USD 13 million to support community-scale geothermal heating and cooling projects. This will be done through the Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).

Geothermal district heating and cooling systems that use geothermal energy to provide climate control to buildings has relatively low presence in the United States. The FOA intends to rectify this situation by supporting community coalitions with the the community, workforce, design, analysis, and deployment expertise to implement such systems.

Through geothermal heating and cooling systems, communities can have reduced fossil fuel dependence, better grid stability, and improved environmental quality. The FOA aims to develop these systems through these specific community-scale objectives:

  • Increase deployment – Deploy new or retrofitted geothermal, or geothermal-hybrid, district heating and cooling systems in districts, neighborhoods, and communities
  • Advance environmental justice – Identify solutions for environmental justice conditions, such as cumulative environmental pollution and other hazards; for underserved and disadvantaged communities; and for community members who have historically experienced vulnerability due to climate change impacts.
  • Grow the workforce – Assist communities to develop career and technical education and workforce transition initiatives to design, install, inspect, operate and maintain new energy systems such as geothermal heating and cooling.
  • Share best practices – Develop case studies about projects, including technical and economic data, to illustrate how projects can be replicated by communities throughout the United States.
  • Provide data – Publish data and information about geothermal district heating and cooling system deployment to demonstrate the success of such systems in a range of environments and geographies.

“By enabling communities to design and deploy community-scale geothermal heating and cooling systems, we can expand equitable energy access and foster greater local participation in the energy transition,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “Wider adoption of these systems can go a long way in decarbonizing the building and electricity sectors and support the Biden Administration’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.”

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) is compiling a Teaming Partner List to facilitate the formation of new community coalitions. This will allow the interested parties to include information about their expertise that can be used by potential applicants for the intended FOA. Parties interested in being included are encouraged to read the full terms via this link.

Currently, the announcement is only a Notice of Intent (NOI). The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has the discretion on whether to issue the FOA or to release the FOA under significantly different terms.

Source: US Department of Energy