Resource Assessment and Mapping

NREL collaborates with industry and other national labs to characterize geothermal resources, deliver resource data for the next generation of geothermal energy technologies, and forecast geothermal deployment throughout the United States.

Map of the geothermal resources of the United States showing geothermal opportunities are concentrated primarily in the western states.
NREL resource assessment is focused on better understanding the abundant geothermal resources across the United States.

Resource Characterization

Understanding resources is key to geothermal development. Although it's the United States Geological Survey's mission to study the U.S. geothermal resource, NREL takes its studies further to understand the technical, economic, and market potential and demand for these resources. NREL geoscientists review and analyze the resource potential of nontraditional resources, including traditional hydrothermal resources, supercritical resources, sedimentary and coproduced geothermal resources, enhanced geothermal resources (EGS), advanced geothermal resources, direct use resources, and shallow earth resources for geothermal heat pump and storage applications.


NREL's geospatial data science research uses geographic information systems (GIS) to produce maps, analyses, models, applications, and visualizations that inform energy planning and production. We address critical challenges through cutting-edge practices, offering a unique perspective of the geospatial context surrounding contemporary geothermal issues and solutions. NREL data and visualization scientists integrate complex data sets into digestible, usable maps available for download or for use in our interactive Geothermal Prospector tool.


  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Resource mapping using geographic information systems
  • Resource supply curve development


Sedimentary Geothermal Resources in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Texas, NREL Technical Report (2020)

GeoRePORT Protocol Volume II: Geological Assessment Tool, NREL Technical Report (2019)

GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Thermal Applications, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Geothermal Resources of the United States: Identified Hydrothermal Sites and Favorability of Deep Enhanced Geothermal Systems, NREL Map (2018)

An Estimate of Shallow, Low-Temperature Geothermal Resources of the United States, Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting (2016)

Update to Enhanced Geothermal System Resource Potential Estimate, Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting (2016)

View all NREL publications about geothermal research.