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Geothermal Technology Analysis

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Geothermal Energy Program focuses in three areas: energy systems research and testing (working to enhance conversion of geothermal energy into heat and electricity) led by NREL; drilling technologies research (for both hardware and diagnostic tools) led by Sandia National Laboratories; and geoscience and supporting technologies research (exploration and resource management) led by the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. NREL's geothermal research, conducted in NREL's Center for Buildings and Thermal Systems, primarily supports DOE's Energy Systems component, specializing in advanced power plant systems, small-scale power plants, and direct-use performance.

Energy analysis supports R&D in the following areas of geothermal technologies.

Geothermal Energy Basics

Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings.

Geothermal Technologies

NREL works in partnership with industry, academia, and other research laboratories to research, develop, and demonstrate technologies to advance the use of geothermal energy as a clean, renewable, domestic power source for the United States.

Geothermal Policymakers' Guidebooks

These online tools guide state and local officials in developing effective policies that support geothermal energy development.

Geothermal Resource Maps

More than 300 cities and towns have been identified within 5 miles of a known geothermal resource.

Geothermal Prospector

Start exploring U.S. geothermal resources with Geothermal Prospector, an easy-to-use mapping tool that allows users to select dataset layers that are NGDS compatible.

Geothermal Data Resources

This dataset is a qualitative assessment of geothermal potential for the U.S. using Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) and based on the levelized cost of electricity with CLASS 1 being most favorable and CLASS 5 being least favorable.

Geothermal Regulatory Roadmap

Sponsored by the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office, this working guide for agency, industry and policymakers describes permitting processes and timelines and helps identify potential areas of concern for geothermal projects.

Learn more about our Geothermal capabilities and current projects in this area.

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Related publications

Related models/tools

Key staff analysts
Chad Augustine
Katherine Young

Access more information on all of our Staff Analysts