In the ongoing discussion surrounding renewable energy alternatives and the impending “green transition”, dialogues labelling geothermal the “forgotten renewable” have been largely accurate until recent years. In an article published by the World Economic Forum, Michael Coren discusses the history of financial and technological obstacles that have placed geothermal behind popular alternatives such as wind and solar. “In spite of its enormous potential,” Coren writes, “the geothermal option for the United States has been largely ignored.
However, as developments continue to unfold in the renewables arena, geothermal technology has begun to gain traction as an increasingly superior alternative to wind and solar. Namely, wind and solar cannot provide baseload energy, and geothermal can.
“Geothermal fills a critical gap to complete the energy transition” – Jesse Jenkins, Princeton University Energy Systems Engineer
Considering that until recent years, geothermal has been largely overlooked, the absolute potential of geothermal energy is often hard to grasp. In 2006, MIT estimated the amount of extractable energy available beneath the United States to be around 200,000 exajoules, an amount so massive that “even releasing 2% could supply 2,000 times the primary energy needs for the entire country” (1).
A number of recent investments in geothermal technology in the United States and beyond suggest the world is finally ready to take advantage of this resource’s massive, untapped potential.
In the first half of 2020, global geothermal investments exceeded $675 million, six times more than the global investment total of 2019. Geothermal producers have announced 3 new projects in California, the largest being a 25-year, 40-megawatt deal valued at $627 million. The US has also allocated approximately $200 million to the commercialization of Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) technology through 2024. Furthermore, according to the US Energy Information Administration, “geothermal capacity in 2025 should cost just $37 per megawatt-hour, cheaper than almost every [other] source.”
“This is the best resource in the world.” – Jason Czapla
2021 promises to be an exciting year for geothermal. Eavor Technologies is looking forward to continued expansion and development around the world as we come together to place the final piece in the renewable energy puzzle.