DOE invests $6 million in geothermal heating and cooling technologies at federal facilities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to receive up to $6 million to help expand the deployment of geothermal heating and cooling technology at federal sites. The federal government is the nation’s largest energy user, consuming nearly 1% of all end-use energy in the United States. Installing these carbon-free heating and cooling systems at federal sites will support President Biden’s goal to make the federal government carbon-neutral and help demonstrate the benefits and potential of this technology.  

“Geothermal heating and cooling is renewable, versatile, and critical to decarbonizing buildings as well as the economy as a whole,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “Scaling up deployment of geothermal heating and cooling technology on federal sites will help reduce costs and energy demand, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and leading by example to decarbonize our economy.” 

This funding will provide technical assistance for geothermal energy deployment at federal sites, helping reduce or replace electricity demand, offset peak loads to the grid, and add resiliency and security to local energy systems.  

The team receiving this funding is led by ORNL and includes three other national labs, two universities, a state agency, and an industry partner who all bring strong expertise in the low-temperature geothermal space. ORNL and its partners—National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Illinois State Geological Survey, International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, Oklahoma State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison—will establish a technical assistance framework with an innovative workflow that will result in more accurate models and recommendations as well as deployment-ready reports. The team will also conduct data analysis, carry out resource characterization, perform site surveys, and design geothermal heating and cooling systems in support of deploying geothermal energy at federal sites. 

This effort supports and is enabled by the Federal Geothermal Partnership, a collaboration between the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) and the Federal Energy Management Program. 

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