May 30, 2019

DOE Releases New Study Highlighting the Untapped Potential of Geothermal Energy in the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy released a
groundbreaking analysis detailing how the United States can benefit
from the vast potential of geothermal energy.

The analysis culminated in a report, GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat
Beneath Our Feet, which summarizes findings showing that geothermal
electricity generation could increase more than 26-fold from
today—reaching 60 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity by 2050. In
addition to describing electricity-generation opportunities, the
GeoVision analysis also shows how geothermal can enhance heating and
cooling solutions for American residential and commercial consumers
through direct-use and heat-pump technologies.

"There is enormous untapped potential for geothermal energy in the
United States," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. "Making
geothermal more affordable can increase our energy options for a more
diverse electricity generation mix and for innovative heating and
cooling solutions for all Americans."

The GeoVision analysis represents a multiyear collaboration among
industry, academia, the National Laboratories, and federal agencies to
evaluate the potential for different geothermal resources. The effort
assessed opportunities to expand nationwide geothermal energy
deployment through 2050 by improving technologies, reducing costs, and
addressing project development barriers such as long permitting

In the electric sector, under business as usual, geothermal generation
capacity will grow to 6 GW by 2050. By accelerating geothermal
development timelines, geothermal capacity could more than double from
business as usual, to 13 GW. Geothermal capacity could increase even
further—to 60 GW—by combining faster development timelines with
technology improvements.

In the non-electric sector, technology improvements could enable more
than 17,500 geothermal district-heating installations nationwide, and
28 million U.S. households could realize cost-effective heating and
cooling solutions through the use of geothermal heat pumps.

The analysis also examined economic benefits to the U.S. geothermal
industry; investigated opportunities for desalination, mineral
recovery, and hybridization with other energy technologies for greater
efficiencies and lower costs; and quantified potential environmental
impacts of increased geothermal deployment.

In addition to summarizing opportunities for geothermal energy in the
United States, the GeoVision analysis includes a roadmap of actionable
items for stakeholders to reduce technology costs and speed up
project-development timelines.

For more information on the Energy Department's Office of Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or the Geothermal Technologies
Office, visit the EERE website. To learn more about the GeoVision
report, visit the Energy Department's GeoVisionanalysis webpage.