The Biden Administration – due to take office January 20th, 2021 – is expected to turn political rhetoric into political action when it comes to the nation’s resource use and energy management. Central to this will be decarbonizing the US electricity sector through renewable power sources as part of the much-touted green energy transition.
Yet, it needs to be done responsibly and rationally. Wind and solar power are the global rock stars of the clean energy stage. While market forces are a major driver of renewable adoption in the US, state, local, and federal policies such as mandated Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and green subsidies are also boosting the proliferation of these carbon-free technologies. In fact, the power generated from renewables surpassed that of coal in 2019. And in 2021, investment in new renewables projects will outpace their hydrocarbon competitors. But amidst this green growth in the power sector, there are other low-emission renewable energy sources (RES) that should not be overlooked. Geothermal energy is one of these viable technologies.
Geothermal energy extracts heat from the earth’s crust to turn water into steam. It is one of the renewable energy sources that can provide clean electricity as well as heat for ‘direct use.’ Geothermal energy has the advantage of a high capacity factor compared to intermittent RES, and thus is a good source of affordable and clean baseload electricity.