Next-generation geothermal steals the spotlight during CERAWeek

The 41st annual CERAWeek Conference by S&P Global has dominated industry headlines for more than a week, and renewable energy spent more time in the limelight than conventional sources like oil and gas.

In particular, the emerging next-generation geothermal industry received a great deal of attention, reinforcing what major players in the sector already know: geothermal’s revival is gathering global momentum, and Calgary-based Eavor Technologies holds a key position at the industry’s helm.

Jeanine Vany, Eavor’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, met with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm during the week-long event, following a panel appearance by CEO John Redfern in an Agora session on the opening day of CERAWeek.

Granholm appeared at Rice University on Tuesday, March 7, for a roundtable with geothermal energy industry leaders. The discussion focused on funding, permitting and regulation, and transitioning existing technology and knowledge from oil and gas to geothermal. Granholm was also featured as a keynote speaker on Wednesday, March 8, alongside S&P Global vice chairman Daniel Yergin.

She told the gathering that providing locally sourced, environmentally friendly, and reliable energy is a dilemma she loses sleep over, but “geothermal is the solution… I am obsessed.”

Representatives from the Clean Air Task Force, an international organization dedicated to creating solutions for a clean, climate-friendly future were present at Rice University for Granholm’s event. Phillip Ball of the CATF said in a LinkedIn post following the discussion that in addition to funding and project support, “policy support is crucial for all geothermal technologies.”

The Inflation Reduction Act, instituted in late 2022 is one example of policy aimed at expanding geothermal applications in private industries by introducing enticing tax cuts. And up to $74 million was allocated to fund EGS pilot projects across the country through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in February.

But industry players say more attention and change is needed. According to the Axios Generate newsletter, geothermal trade organization Geothermal Rising presented Granhom with a number of suggestions, including opening up billions in funding through the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations and even creating a geothermal-centric department of Earth Energy.

“The energy transition is underway,” Houston Chronicle reporter Chris Tomlinson wrote in his coverage of CERAWeek. “Economists expect governments and businesses to spend more than $28 trillion on the clean energy transition by 2050,” according to the article.

For Eavor, the recent prioritization of American geothermal could not have come at a better time. January marked the historic completion of Eavor Deep™, the hottest and deepest directional geothermal well ever completed. The company also has a growing project portfolio in the U.S: a 20 MW project and power purchase agreement in Nevada, and a newly-approved demonstration project in northern California.

The geothermal start-up played a crucial role in developing policy in Alberta, where Eavor was founded and first tested the scientific concepts behind the technology. The Government of Alberta worked closely with Eavor and other industry leaders to develop the Geothermal Resource Development Act which came into effect in December 2021. Since then, several provinces and territories such as the Yukon, Nunavut, and Nova Scotia have considered similar policies or programs.

Granholm posted on social media a week after her appearance at CERAWeek, highlighting Tomlinson’s coverage in her post.

“The question is not whether an energy transition is underway or whether corporations can profit by saving the planet,” Tomlinson writes. “The question is how fast it can be done while keeping supplies affordable and secure.”

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