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 ~4 GW ̃representing~24% of the world wide geothermal capacity installed.
The majority of this is in the western USA, in California and Nevada.

The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) of the USDOE funds geothermal research, development and deployment activity stimulating growth in the geothermal industry and encouraging 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
  • Data, modelling and analysis.

The 2019 GeoVISION geothermal roadmap out to 2050 identifies three significant findings that:

  • Geothermally powered district heating schemes could grow 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.

In 2022 GTO announced the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™, a DOE-wide effort to reduce the cost of enhanced geothermal systems by 90%, to $45 per megawatt-hour, by 2035. Analysis identifies that achieving this goal could allow the United States to deploy more than 90 GWe of geothermal electricity-generating capacity by 2050.

2020 drilling activity at the Milford EGS Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy site in Utah saw the completion of the first of two injection / production wells. The well 16A was drilled to 3353m reaching a final inclination of 65 degrees.  The use of PDC bits and techniques developed by Texas A&M University resulted in drilling penetration rates averaging 12 m per hour. A video of the FORGE Utah work can be viewed through the URL link.

During 2021 the Wells of Opportunity funding announcement was released covering two topic areas; EGS field validation studies (Amplify), and geothermal production from hydrocarbon wells (Reamplify).

The EGS Collab work launched in 2017 continued through 2021.  The work is focused on controlled, small-scale, in-situ experiments improving the understanding of rock fracture behaviour and permeability enhancement. A wiki with the findings from the studies can be accessed through this URL.

Work on hidden geothermal systems focussed in the Great Basin region of the western USA continued through 2021 including the  INnovative Geothermal Exploration through Novel Investigations Of Undiscovered Systems (INGENIOUS) and the Basin & Range Investigations for Developing Geothermal Energy (BRIDGE) projects.

Six Deep Direct-Use (DDU) project studies initiated in 2017 were completed in 2020 and are written up in a Geothermics paper (URL to access).

Geothermal drilling research focused on three areas:

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

The US has developed a National Geothermal Data System which can be accessed through this hyperlink.  The data which is primarily data for the USA is being progressively loaded.  Some data is available from other parts of the world.

Please read the country report for more information.

2022 USA Country Report

2021 USA Country Report

2020 USA Country Report

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