United States

United States

Contracting Party:   United States Department of Energy (USDOE), United States

Executive Committee Member: Lauren Boyd, USDOE, United States

The United States leads the world in installed geothermal electricity capacity, with ~3.7 GW ̃installed. 95% of this is in the western USA, in California and Nevada.

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) of the USDOE funds geothermal research and development (R&D) to stimulate growth in the geothermal industry and encourage adoption of geothermal technologies by the public and private sectors. There are four program areas:

  • Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS),
  • Hydrothermal resources,
  • Low temperature and coproduced resources, and
  • Systems analysis.

The GeoVISION study geothermal roadmap out to 2050 was released in May 2019.  Three very significant findings from the study point to:

  • Geothermally powered district heating schemes growing to ~18,000 (from 21 currently).
  • Geothermal heat pumps (GSHP) growing to 28 million installs.
  • Geothermal electricity growing to 60 GW (from ~3.7 GW) contributing 8% of US capacity.

During 2019 work at the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy Utah site at Milford focused on planning for the Phase 3 drilling along with the preparation of competitive research solicitations for 2020 public release.

A video of the FORGE Utah work can be viewed through the url link.

The EGS Collab work launched in 2017 continued through 2019.  The work is focused on controlled, small-scale, in-situ experiments improving the understanding of rock fracture behaviour and permeability enhancement.

The Play Fairway Analysis (PFA) work was completed in 2019 with temperature gradient wells in Nevada (2), Idaho (1),  Washington (2), and in Hawaii (1). Initial  data is favourable for validation of the PFA methodology.

Six Deep Direct-Use (DDU) project studies were completed in 2019 which identify great potential for geothermal deep direct-use district heating and cooling (GDHC) technology beyond the western U.S., especially where very low-temperature geothermal resources are combined with temperature-boosting technologies such as heat pumps or where still higher temperatures are required, natural gas fired boilers as a secondary heat source, integrated with geothermal .  The feasibility studies have demonstrated the economic viability of DDU. With these studies now concluded the next phase is focusing on Advanced Energy Storage Initiatives.

Geothermal drilling research focused on three areas:

  • Drilling efficiency improvements
  • Waterless stimulation techniques, and
  • Zonal isolation

Please read the country report for more information.

2019 USA Country Report

2018 USA Country Report

2017 USA Country Report

2016 USA Country Report

2015 USA Country Report

2014 USA Country Report

2012 USA Country Report