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Projected 1,900% Growth in U.S. Geothermal Capacity by 2050

U.S. Geothermal Capacity Set To Grow by 1,900% by 2050

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has allocated $60 million in funding for three enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) projects, aiming to tap into underground heat for renewable energy, potentially doubling the recoverable geothermal energy in the country. This investment reflects a broader global trend of governments seeking cleaner energy alternatives to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, driven by climate policies and increased funding for green energy initiatives.

Geothermal energy has long been recognized for its potential to provide significant amounts of clean power with minimal environmental impact. Historically, geothermal operations were constrained by the lack of technology to access the intense heat deep within the Earth’s crust. However, recent advancements in research and development have led to the creation of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), capable of accessing heat in previously inaccessible areas.

Traditional geothermal resources were limited to regions with surface heat sources like hot springs and geysers. EGS technology involves injecting water at high pressure into deep rocks to reopen natural fractures, allowing hot water or steam to flow into extraction wells. The U.S. DoE’s investment will support projects by Chevron New Energies, Fervo Energy, and Mazama Energy, aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness and scalability of EGS.

Projected 1,900% Growth in U.S. Geothermal Capacity by 2050

Projected 1,900% Growth in U.S. Geothermal Capacity by 2050 (Credits: Oil Price)

Chevron’s pilot project in Sonoma County, California, will test new drilling and stimulation techniques to access geothermal heat, with plans to eventually develop 600 MW of geothermal capacity. Fervo Energy aims to develop geothermal assets in Utah’s Milford Renewable Energy Corridor, expecting to produce a minimum of 8 MW of clean energy from each of its three wells. Mazama Energy’s project in Oregon will focus on advancing EGS technology in extremely hot environments, targeting temperatures above 375°C.

The development of geothermal resources is gaining momentum thanks to recent climate policies and increased funding for green energy projects. Geothermal energy, once limited to specific geographic locations, is now seen as a promising option for providing zero-emissions baseload power. With the potential for significant growth, it’s projected that U.S. geothermal capacity could increase by 20-fold by 2050, potentially supplying up to 10% of the country’s electricity needs.

The investment in EGS projects represents a significant step towards unlocking the full potential of geothermal energy in the United States. As the world transitions to cleaner energy sources, geothermal power stands out as a reliable and sustainable option, with the capacity to make a substantial contribution to the country’s energy mix.

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