Gov. Polis and Colorado Energy Office Launch Grant  Program to Support Geothermal Energy 

The Polis administration and the Colorado Energy  Office (CEO) launched the first round of applications for the Geothermal Energy Grant  Program (GEGP) recently, which will provide funding to support the use of zero emission, geothermal energy for electricity generation and space heating and cooling.  CEO will award a total of $5 million during the first funding round, with at least one  additional funding round opening next fiscal year.  

Gov. Polis and Colorado Energy Office Launch Grant  Program to Support Geothermal Energy 

“The heat beneath our feet — geothermal energy — provides Colorado with the  opportunity to lower energy costs by harnessing zero-emission energy to generate  electricity and heat and cool homes, businesses, and communities. Colorado  continues to be the national leader for geothermal energy and we look forward to  seeing how these grants will continue that streak,” said Governor Polis

This program aligns with Polis’ Heat Beneath Our Feet initiative, which  focuses on exploring geothermal energy applications and addressing land use planning  and market barriers across the West for this key technology.

The geothermal energy  grant program is one of the largest investments in geothermal energy in the country,  establishing Colorado as a leader in this expanding industry. The program accelerates  the growth and development of geothermal technology, which will play a critical role  in achieving net-zero emissions in Colorado by 2050. 

“Colorado’s unique geography offers some of the most robust geothermal energy  potential in the country,” said CEO Executive Director Will Toor. “Our geothermal  program is an exciting opportunity to tap into this expansive resource to heat and  cool our homes and increase access to reliable clean electricity. Geothermal  technology will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving Coloradans money on energy costs and creating good-paying jobs in Colorado communities.” 

Temperatures underground remain constant year-round, with temperatures increasing  as depth increases. Just below the surface, the ground acts as an efficient thermal  battery to heat and cool individual buildings with geothermal heat pumps, in addition to groups of buildings networked together using underground water pipes and heat  pumps (known as thermal energy networks).

These geothermal systems can  substantially reduce peak electrical loads, reducing demand on the power grid and  saving communities money on energy costs. For example, the thermal network at  Colorado Mesa University has reduced energy costs nearly $12 million since 2008

Colorado also has one of the most promising thermal gradients in the country to support  geothermal electricity production, which can supplement other renewable energy  sources to meet peak demand. 

Both public and private entities are eligible to apply for GEGP funding. Eligible projects  include: 

Single-structure geothermal: Installing a geothermal system as the primary  source of heating and cooling for a group of residential buildings or a single  multifamily or nonresidential building 

Community district heating (thermal energy network): Constructing ground source, water-source, or multi-source thermal systems that serve more than one  building.  

Geothermal electricity generation: Developing geothermal electricity  generation technology and/or using geothermal energy to produce hydrogen or  power direct air capture technology. 

To ensure this program benefits the Coloradans who are most impacted by air pollution,  high energy costs, and the transition away from fossil fuels, CEO will prioritize projects  in disproportionately impacted, low-income, and just transition communities. CEO has  also reserved 25% of the single-structure geothermal grants for projects in these  communities. 

More information about eligibility, award amounts, and how to apply is available on the Geothermal Energy Grant Program website.   

In addition to the GEGP, the State is making additional investments in geothermal  energy through the competitive Geothermal Electricity Tax Credit. This merit-based,  refundable tax credit is available for public and private entities that are investing in or  producing geothermal electricity. CEO expects to open competitive applications for this  tax credit in spring 2024. Tax credits for geothermal heat pumps and geothermal  thermal energy networks will also begin in 2024.

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