Geothermal Rising FY2022 Appropriations Request Letter (November, 2021)


November 12, 2021

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
On Energy and Water Development
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John Kennedy
Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
On Energy and Water Development
Washington, DC 20510

Subject: FY 2022 Appropriations Recommendation for Geothermal Energy

Dear Chair Feinstein and Ranking Member Kennedy:

As representatives of nearly ninety companies from eighteen states and the District of Columbia, we write to highlight geothermal energy’s extraordinary promise as a source of 24/7, carbon-free and job-creating electricity and heat generation, and to recommend that any final Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations bill include at least $137 million for the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), as recommended by the House-passed FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R.4502).

Geothermal Rising is the global leader for the advancement of geothermal energy. Our mission is to help the world use the earth to save the earth: to leverage the extraordinary potential of our underground thermal resources to facilitate our nation’s transition to a carbon-free economy. Geothermal Rising has over 1,200 members which include individuals, corporations, universities, national laboratories, government, and other nongovernmental organizations.

Geothermal energy should be an indispensable part of our energy mix of the future, providing reliable and carbon-free baseload power and complementing variable generation sources such as solar and wind to provide Americans with constant, affordable, and clean electricity and heat. In its GeoVision report, the Department of Energy highlighted geothermal energy’s immense potential as an “always-on source of secure, reliable, and flexible domestic energy that can be utilized across industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.” GeoVision estimated that, with the right blend of federal investment and bureaucratic streamlining, geothermal generation could provide over 120 GW of clean, 24/7 electricity by 2050.
Geothermal projects are also an engine for job creation and economic growth across the country. In 2020, the geothermal industry employed over 8,000 people in the United States. There is massive potential for growth: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) JEDI model has estimated each new geothermal plant creates tens of thousands of construction and operational jobs, including many positions that require workers with oil and gas skill sets.

Today, as GeoVision noted, our nation has “tapped only a fraction of its abundant geothermal resources.” Now is the time for the federal government to take action to unleash geothermal energy’s potential by providing the resources and shaping the policies necessary to demonstrate and deploy these technologies, create jobs, and spur economic growth across the country.

To these ends, as House and Senate representatives meet to determine final funding levels for FY 2022, we urge you to include at least $137 million for GTO’s activities in a final conferenced bill, including up to $75,000,000 for enhanced geothermal system demonstrations and next-generation geothermal demonstration projects, as proposed in the House mark.

These investments will support geothermal energy exploration and grow the workforce to provide affordable clean power to customers across the United States and will ensure that enhanced geothermal energy systems can be on a path to commercialization by 2030. In addition, as the Committees look to the FY 2023 budgetary cycle, we encourage you to prioritize funding for geothermal technology research, development, and demonstration projects in subsequent appropriations.

We appreciate your continued support for geothermal energy and look forward to working with you to support the investments necessary to create jobs and bring these innovative technologies to market.


Will Pettitt
Geothermal Rising Executive Director