Recap: The Enhanced Geothermal Shot™ Summit

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Geothermal Technologies Office


May 18, 2023

Greetings, Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) subscribers! We will share our regular Drill Down newsletter next week – this week, I wanted to share a recap of what happened at last week’s Enhanced Geothermal Shot™ Summit. I am so inspired by what I heard from our speakers!

The theme of the day: The Enhanced Geothermal Shot™ is our opportunity to take a HUGE stranded energy resource and put it to use for the good of the country. Geothermal already plays a valuable role in the U.S. energy system, but we know that we have tapped into only a fraction of what’s possible. Geothermal is a single-source solution to help decarbonize the electricity grid, create U.S. jobs, support states and communities in meeting their energy goals, and contribute to a net-zero economy that serves everyone. As Princeton University’s Dr. Jesse Jenkins reminded us in his keynote on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) in context, we have already realized major cost reductions and grown significant related industries in solar and wind—now it’s time to “balance our energy diet” with geothermal.

Throughout the day, we heard about so many unique possibilities for advancing EGS. We learned from Governor Jared Polis how Colorado is advancing geothermal as a lower-cost solution for its residents and how geothermal is helping Colorado Mesa University reduce tuition for students. U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich highlighted how Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory are playing critical roles in driving down costs by improving drilling and subsurface mapping & characterization technologies. We at GTO are so excited that states are increasingly empowered to envision geothermal energy futures that make sense for their municipalities, and we know strategic partnerships are vital in helping us achieve the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™.

The value of partnerships to achieving this ambitious goal was emphasized again and again by our speakers. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Dr. Geraldine Richmond, after detailing the support for EGS at the highest levels of DOE and the federal government, shared that “It's going to take all of us […] the team within and beyond the Department of Energy will be absolutely essential […] We all need to work together to unlock the potential.” One example of the crosscutting partnerships that will be crucial to this Earthshot’s success was presented by the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council’s (FPISC) Christine Harada, who shared how federal agencies are partnered on FAST-41 to improve the federal environmental review and authorization process for covered infrastructure projects. A panel of representatives from DOE offices beyond GTO provided other examples: the Office of Science’s work to geo-architect subsurface materials, the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s (ARPA-E) work building sensors that are critical for subsurface data collection, and the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program’s work in high-performance computing to advance modeling and simulations are just some of the valuable efforts through which DOE is advancing the collective work in this field.

There were also so many great highlights from the day’s conversations about the importance of supporting and engaging with communities early on and throughout the lifetime of geothermal projects. Our Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy’s (FORGE) Chris Katis and Beaver County (UT) Commissioner Tammy Pearson shared how the FORGE team’s consistent visibility and engagement with residents and students has made FORGE a true part of the community. Katis reminded us that we need to advance EGS deployment at the “speed of community,” and DOE’s Dr. Shalanda Baker reminded us that open communication, deep consideration of community and workforce needs, and partnerships are just a few of the important steps we need to consider as we continue on the path to the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™.

We also heard from industry—geothermal workers are needed, now and in the future!—and from the unions and trade associations who are already training a diverse workforce for the geothermal energy future. Our panel of speakers emphasized the value of earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship programs and the fact that there is growing interest and excitement about jobs in this industry. Growing energy costs, investments from the Inflation Reduction Act, the drive for decarbonization, and the resurgence of interest in technical education are increasing the market and labor pool. In fact, the workforce panel and New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich both emphasized that, unlike other emerging clean energy industries, geothermal relies on technologies that are largely familiar to the existing U.S. oil and gas workforce. As Senator Heinrich shared, “Through enhanced geothermal systems, we can ensure these workers are as integral to the future of energy production as they have been to its past.”

We concluded the day with a technical discussion of the roadmap GTO is outlining to achieve the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™. Acting EGS Program Manager Kevin Jones and a panel of geothermal experts discussed the five technical pathways that we believe will help make this vision reality:  geothermal experts discussed the five technical pathways that we believe will help make this vision reality:

  • Seeing the Subsurface with Greater Precision: New Sensing Technologies for Stress, Strain, & Fracture Mapping
  • Predicting the Subsurface with Greater Precision
  • Accessing the Subsurface: Improving Drilling Efficiency and Drilling in Extreme Environs
  • Designing and Building Wells
  • Manipulating and Creating Durable Reservoirs: Controlling Fluid Flow and Developing Innovative Stimulation Methods

While we would love to hear any feedback you have on this summit, the GTO team and I are especially eager for your feedback on the roadmap. The presentation introducing this roadmap is now accessible on the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™ page to prompt your thoughts, and we will post the full roadmap soon. If you have any thoughts to share about the roadmap, please email us at

I’m so pleased with the momentum and excitement for geothermal that this event tapped into! We will share the full recording of the summit soon, if you would like to check out or revisit any of these discussions yourself.

As is the call for all of DOE’s Energy Earthshots, this is an all-hands-on-deck effort. We’re up for the challenge and we hope you are too! This is just the first of many conversations about the Enhanced Geothermal Shot™ —I look forward to building America’s energy future with you.


Lauren Boyd

Acting Director, Geothermal Technologies Office