On May 30, 2019, DOE also announced the release of GeoVision: Harnessing the Heat Beneath Our Feet, an analysis on how the U.S. can benefit from the potential of geothermal energy. The report summarizes findings that show geothermal electricity generation could increase more than 26-fold from today. Geothermal energy has the potential to reach 60 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity (a 6GW growth) by 2050, including the provision of heating and cooling solutions for residential and commercial consumers through direct-use and heat-pump technologies. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, stated that “[m]aking geothermal more affordable can increase our energy options for a more diverse electricity generation mix […].” Industry experts, academia, DOE’s National Laboratories, and federal agencies assessed opportunities to expand geothermal energy deployment through 2050 via technology improvement, cost reduction, and reduction of project development barriers such as long permitting timelines. The GeoVision report also includes the analysis of economic benefits to the U.S. geothermal energy sector, and an investigation of opportunities for desalination, mineral recovery, and hybridization with other energy technologies for greater efficiencies and lower costs. Additionally, the report quantified potential environmental impacts of an increased deployment of geothermal energy. A roadmap of action items for stakeholders is also included, outlining three key objectives to:
- Increase access to geothermal resources;
- Reduce costs and improve economics for geothermal projects; and
- Improve education.
These GeoVision objectives are to be met through four key Action Areas: (1) Research Related to Resource Assessments, Improved Site Characterization, and Key Technology Advancements; (2) Regulatory Process Optimization; (3) Maximizing the Full Value of Geothermal Energy; and, (4) Improved Stakeholder Collaboration. For further details, the full report can be accessed here.