The Biden administration has announced a far-reaching new goal to make the use of geothermal energy “widespread,” underlining the administration’s efforts to reduce and eventually end the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) said in a Thursday statement that US President Joe Biden hopes to make enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) “a widespread renewable energy option” by reducing its cost to $45 per megawatt hour — a 90 percent drop — by 2035.
These systems could not make new sources of green energy more economical but also help heat homes.
“The United States has a vast, geothermal energy resource lying right beneath our feet, and this program will make it economical to bring that power to American households and businesses,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in the statement.
The department also argued that a small fraction of the country’s geothermal energy could easily power more than 40 million American homes and that the project will support Biden’s goals to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035 — and net-zero emissions across the US economy by 2050.
As of now, the US is only using 3.7 gigawatts of what’s available.
For comparison, at the end of 2021, the DOE says there were over 228 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic and wind power in the United States combined.
That’s partially due to the extreme conditions and high-tech equipment needed to channel the Earth’s heat.
“EGS resources are located deep underground, at least 4,000 feet,” the DOE statement reads. “Conditions are extreme — hot temperatures, hot and abrasive rocks, and a corrosive environment — and come with significant unknowns.”