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NREL Taps Young to Oversee Geothermal Energy Program

February 7, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) promoted Katherine Young to laboratory program manager for geothermal energy.

Young has been with NREL since 2008, working as a senior geothermal analyst and engineer in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center. In her new role, Young will work closely with NREL management to establish the lab’s geothermal energy portfolio, including research and development geared toward advancing the use of geothermal energy as a renewable power source. She also will guide discussions with the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office to reduce the cost of developing geothermal energy.

Photo of Katherine Young.

Katherine Young is now laboratory program manager at NREL for geothermal energy.

“I am thrilled to have Kate join our leadership team,” said Johney Green, associate laboratory director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences at NREL. “She brings a wealth of expertise that will help bolster our important research activities with the Geothermal Technologies Office, as well as with university and industry partners.”

Young’s areas of expertise include geothermal exploration and drilling analysis, and database planning and development. Since joining NREL, Young led the design and development of the Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit, an online resource that allows agencies, industry, and developers to identify the regulatory steps required for renewable power projects. She also led the development of the Geothermal Resource Portfolio Optimization & Reporting Technique (GeoRePORT), which created industry standards for reporting geothermal resources.

“I’m delighted to be named to the position,” Young said. “Geothermal has many environmental and economic benefits for the U.S. and a lot of untapped potential in all 50 states.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Energy to advance geothermal understanding and technologies.”

Young said she wants to expand discussions at NREL about geothermal energy. “One of my goals is to work with energy leaders to encourage the inclusion of geothermal in the conversation when we’re talking about small- or large-scale energy-efficiency and renewable solutions,” she said. “Geothermal can play a significant role in the design and development of energy-efficient buildings and clean cities and is a key contributor to grid reliability and security in areas of deployment.”

Before NREL, Young was a project manager at Martin and Wood Water Consultants, Inc. She earned a master’s degree in geochemistry and isotope geology from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in geological/geophysical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Young has been cited in more than 175 publications and serves on the board of the Geothermal Resources Council.

Young replaces Henry “Bud” Johnston as laboratory program manager. Johnston, NREL’s chief subsurface engineer, will focus on technical research activities to bolster the lab’s subsurface modeling capabilities.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.