Monday, March 2, 2020

USA, Washington DC: "Reforms included in current legislation – could yield a “26-fold” increase in the amount of geothermal energy"

Opinion: A Look at How Geothermal Fits in the Renewable Energy Puzzle (AAF)

By Dan Goldbeck, a Senior Research Analyst for Regulatory Policy at the American Action Forum.

Despite relatively minimal use currently, geothermal energy has some important benefits: As a natural, renewable energy source it is cleaner than fossil fuel plants while also being more reliable than other renewables such as wind and solar.

Geothermal plants face a unique set of challenges, however: They are geographically limited and bring higher per-unit capital costs than the usual baseload plants, and the regulatory hurdles under the current permit process can take up to a decade to complete.

Research suggests that a greater commitment to researching more advanced technologies in concert with regulatory consolidation – reforms included in current legislation – could yield a “26-fold” increase in the amount of geothermal energy produced in coming decades.

"Geothermal will never be the panacea for our energy and environmental concerns—but neither will any other energy source for that matter. In an implicit acknowledgment of this reality, an announcement last week from the AGILE Act’s primary sponsors, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), now sets up the bill to be a vehicle for the AEIA, which includes areas such as nuclear energy, battery storage, and carbon capture. Considering, however, that geothermal is relatively cleaner than such baseload sources as coal and gas and relatively more reliable than more ubiquitous “clean” sources such as wind and solar, it has the potential to become a more substantial piece of the nation’s energy portfolio. Additional research efforts and policy reforms, including those in current legislation, can help unlock that potential."

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