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U.S. Department of Energy’s geothermal Earthshot is boon for climate action, with superhot rock energy poised for breakthrough

September 8, 2022 Work Area: Superhot Rock Geothermal

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy announced today a new goal of helping commercialize enhanced geothermal energy systems (EGS) by cutting their costs 90% by 2035.  

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) issued the following statement from Terra Rogers, Program Director, Superhot Rock Energy: 

The DOE’s new geothermal Earthshot announcement is a boon for U.S. climate action and for global decarbonization. This new effort will help the U.S. develop and scale geothermal energy as a key piece of the decarbonization puzzle, and could help unlock clean, always on, energy-dense, renewable power across the entire U.S. — as well as help commercialize it around the world. Superhot rock energy is well positioned to help DOE achieve this new geothermal goal, given its ability to generate high levels of energy per well and its lack of resource costs. Superhot rock energy is currently being proven out, and DOE’s announcement comes at the perfect time for public private partnerships that can accelerate demonstration and deployment in the 2030s.  

This is an important step toward unlocking billions of dollars in funding for superhot rock energy, bringing it closer to past and current expenditure toward wind and solar, nuclear energy, hydrogen, and carbon capture – all of which could prove vital to meeting our climate goals. We applaud DOE on this exciting announcement and look forward to supporting efforts to drive down the costs of enhanced geothermal energy.” 

In a superhot rock system, water is injected deep into hot rock, heated, and returned to the Earth’s surface as steam that can be used to produce power in electric turbines or to generate hydrogen using a high temperature process. It is projected to be affordable, requiring little facility area to produce large amounts of energy (high energy density) due to the very large amount of energy that can be produced per well. Superhot rock is expected to produce five to ten times as much energy as the power produced from one of today’s commercial geothermal wells, and because of the higher energy per well SHR could meet the DOE energy cost target and could ultimately provide Terawatts of electricity globally. 

CATF is working to build momentum behind superhot rock energy as a dispatchable, energy-dense resource, and to add it to the global decarbonization mix. CATF’s vision is to rapidly scale superhot rock from demonstration to initial commercialization this decade, and with parallel development of deep drilling methods, scale to “geothermal everywhere” in the 2030s, enhancing global energy security and providing energy equity by helping lift developing nations as they modernize. Learn more about CATF’s work on superhot rock energy and read our recent report.  


Press Contact

Troy Shaheen, Communications Director, U.S., tshaheen@catf.us, +1 845-750-1189

About Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit catf.us and follow @cleanaircatf.

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