“The amount of geothermal energy potentially available is, in the words of U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, ‘effectively unlimited.’”

Our Sources Of Energy

Soaking Up Geothermal Energy

Like solar energy and wind power, geothermal energy could—if properly developed—match all of the energy available from coal, oil, and gas combined. Indeed, the amount of geothermal energy potentially available is, in the words of U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, “effectively unlimited.” Yet even renewable-energy enthusiasts typically speak of “wind and solar” without including in their litany one of the most promising potential sources of all: geothermal.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated that the “technically extractable portion” of the U.S. geothermal resource is “about 2,000 times the annual consumption of primary energy in the United States.” As a consequence, assuming appropriate improvements in technology over time, geothermal could provide a significant fraction of U.S. primary energy needs in a sustainable manner for electricity generation and for the heating and cooling of buildings.