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ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

A new legislation has been proposed in the US by House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Representative Andrea Salinas (D-OR) that seeks to support research, development, and testing of supercritical geothermal technologies.

Supercritical geothermal, sometimes referred to as superhot rock energy, is a category of enhanced geothermal systems that requires deep drilling technologies to access dry rocks at temperatures around 400°C or greater. These systems can supply about five to ten times more energy per well compared to conventional hydrothermal systems.

The Supercritical Geothermal Research and Development Act (HR 8665) seeks to establish a program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to focus on supercritical geothermal research. The provisions in the bill include:

  • Ensuring that at least one site under the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program has capabilities for supercritical geothermal testing and, if feasible, closed-loop geothermal systems in supercritical conditions;
  • Establishing a Next-Generation Geothermal Centre of Excellence that will advance research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of enhanced geothermal energy technologies including supercritical geothermal technologies.

“Oklahoma is a national leader in geothermal energy so I’m very familiar with the tremendous value of this energy source,” Lucas said. “Supercritical geothermal energy holds incredible potential for America’s clean energy future. This technology will allow us to expand geothermal energy from a few concentrated regions to areas across the country. By expanding research and development, as well as public-private partnerships, we will be able to better understand and deploy this energy source. I’m proud to sponsor this bill and I thank Rep. Salinas for joining me in this effort.”

“This bipartisan bill will help solve engineering challenges and lower barriers to the commercialization of a wide range of geothermal resources—not only in my home state of Oregon, but across the United States,” said Rep. Salinas.

“Our bill sets the stage for reaching ambitious geothermal targets through technology research that will enable operations at depths that were previously inaccessible. This has the potential to maximize the efficiency of geothermal power plants, including Oregon’s own first-of-a-kind geothermal project on the western flank of Newberry Volcano. I thank Chairman Lucas for working with me to introduce this bipartisan bill, and I look forward to continuing the work needed to usher in a clean energy future.”

HR 8665 joins a growing list of proposed legislation in the US that aims to support geothermal in various aspects including funding, permitting, and research. The advocacy for geothermal amongst US lawmakers is at a higher level activity than ever, both in the federal and state levels.

Source: US Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

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