Chapter 3: Geothermal Is Ready for Its Close Up

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Geothermal Technologies Office


February 15, 2022

Chapter 3: Geothermal Is Ready for Its Close Up

Catch up by reading Chapter 1 and Chapter 2!

Among numerous highlights in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s recently published Geothermal Power Production and District Heating Market Report, one in particular stands out: Since 2019, 11 new geothermal power purchase agreements have been signed across four states. This is a big deal in renewable energy circles, but why should it matter to us, the energy consumers across the country?

Power purchase agreements are the contracts that allow utilities to procure electricity from power plants. These agreements help determine how much you ultimately pay for the electricity that charges your phone, fires up your television on game day, lights your home, and, in general, powers your life.

Cue lights, hit the mark….

Geothermal is Ready for Its Close Up

Building increased geothermal capacity to support the proliferation of power purchase agreements (PPAs) depends not only on repowering and expanding existing geothermal plants, but also successfully identifying new subsurface resources. Although the potential for geothermal energy is vast—more than 5,000 gigawatts of viable geothermal power resources exist across the United States—locating new geothermal systems can be expensive, and the greatest risk is at the onset of an exploration program.

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