Leading companies in the U.S. geothermal industry have told President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team that “Geothermal is Good for America.”
In a brief paper outlining the state of the geothermal industry and technology, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the industry’s trade group, said, “Geothermal delivers a triple bottom line to our energy system: It is an abundant domestic energy source, it brings economic benefits in the form of taxes and long term high-paying jobs, and it has one of the lowest Levelized Costs of Energy (LCOE) of all power sources in the United States.”
“We hope the new Administration will recognize the benefits of geothermal energy,” said Karl Gawell, the Geothermal Energy Association’s Executive Director. “Their leadership in addressing some of the daunting obstacles facing geothermal development could mean positive change for the industry.”
The industry group paper spells out other benefits of geothermal including support for a reliable, modern power grid. “Known to be a baseload generation technology, advancements in geothermal production make it possible to provide ancillary and on-demand services, such as load-following or energy imbalance services, spinning reserves, non-spinning reserves, and replacement or supplemental reserves. This helps load serving entities avoid additional costs from purchasing and then balancing intermittent resources with storage or new transmission.”
GEA also points to producing strategic minerals from geothermal resources as another new advantage. “Exciting opportunities in extracting minerals from geothermal brines could bring the U.S. new sources of lithium, zinc, manganese, potash and rare earth minerals, now dominated by China,” according to GEA.
The industry paper tells the President-elect that they are facing daunting impediments to development. “The U.S. is the world leader in utility-scale geothermal production. Unfortunately that lead has been slipping as asymmetrical market-subsidies undercut new U.S. geothermal development, federal regulation created duplicative hurdles to development, and investment in new technology development by the U.S. has lagged,” GEA reports.
“There are over 30 Gigawatts of geothermal capacity in the U.S. with 83 active projects (over 1,250 MW) stuck in development limbo,” GEA points out. To move geothermal forward, the trade group calls for risk reduction in drilling and exploration, certainty and parity in tax incentives, and streamlined permitting on public lands.