Next-Generation Geothermal Interest Growing

I have noticed a growing interest in geothermal as a possible breakthrough energy source. This week, at the large energy conference CERAWeek, held in Houston, Texas, there are going to be various presentations about the potential of geothermal energy, and the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to publish a new ‘Liftoff’ report about the path to commercial realization of geothermal production.

The US DEO has already published a liftoff report on ‘next generation geothermal’ (or sometimes referred to as EGT (enhanced geothermal)

Excerpt: “Conventional geothermal, although always valued as a source of utility-scale clean firm power, has been dramatically constrained by its geographic limitations, relying on naturally-occurring thermal resources that only exist in niche locations. “Next-generation” technologies (Executive Summary Figure 1) have the potential to engineer effective geothermal resources in commonly found environments, vastly expanding resource availability and potential commercial adoption.”

In the US Senate a bipartisan group of senators from western states is pushing for the Geothermal Optimization Act of 2024 which seeks to put geothermal permitting processes on federal lands on an equal footing with those of oil and gas companies and require the Bureau of Land management set new geothermal lease targets and hold more frequent auctions.

A recent article from MIT discusses how MIT-spinoff company Quaise Energy intends to dig 20 km into the earth’s core to tap temperatures of over 900F to generate steam to power turbines at a geothermal power plant. Quaise states: ““deep geothermal power plant can create 10x more energy than conventional geothermal resources, provide 24/7 baseload power, and unlock near-universal access to clean energy on a small land footprint.”