US ‘has 60GW of untapped geothermal energy capacity under its feet’

That’s the verdict from the US Department of Energy (DoE), which says the underground power source is “America’s untapped energy giant”

The US has 60GW of unused geothermal energy capacity.

That’s the verdict from the US Department of Energy (DoE), which says the underground power source is “America’s untapped energy giant”.

A new report published by the government department says geothermal energy is renewable, flexible and reliable, as well as being well-suited to contributing to grid stability and resiliency.

It says only a fraction of the “always-on” energy source’s potential has been capitalised upon, due to “technical and non-technical barriers that constrain industry growth”.

The study suggests technology improvements could reduce costs and increase geothermal electric power deployment nearly 26-fold by 2050.

Around 60GW of capacity would make up around 3.7% of total US installed capacity by 2050, potentially producing 8.5% of the nation’s electricity generation.

The DoE says it would also benefit the non-electric sector, predicting technology improvements could enable more than 17,500 geothermal district-heating networks to be installed and help 28 million US households get affordable heat and cooling by using geothermal heat pumps.

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said: “Making geothermal more affordable can increase our energy options for a more diverse electricity generation mix and for innovative heating and cooling solutions for all Americans.”

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