“The Heat Beneath Our Feet research and recommendations is further positioning Colorado and the West as a leader in geothermal energy,” said Governor Polis. “I appreciate all the Western governors, participants, and community members who worked on this initiative and helped explore the heat beneath our feet.”
Governor Polis selected geothermal exploration for this landmark initiative due to the large amount of geothermal energy found in the West, providing a unique opportunity for Western states to lead the nation and the world in developing this renewable energy source.
The Heat Beneath Our Feet initiative researched the future of geothermal energy and the potential benefits and challenges of developing this renewable energy source. The report identified three recommendations for geothermal development; electricity generation, heating and cooling, market development and transition opportunities, including specific initiatives. Over time, technology upgrades and lower energy prices can save consumers money on their utilities with the added benefit of more predictable costs.
Among the initiative activities, Colorado hosted a tour of the Colorado Mesa University (CMU) campus’s heating and cooling system, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory hosted working sessions.
This summer, at the Colorado School of Mines, Governor Polis signed the bipartisan SB23-285 Energy And Carbon Management Regulation In Colorado sponsored by Representatives Karen McCormick and Ruby Dickson, Senators Kevin Priola and Chris Hansen to update the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to be named the Energy and Carbon Management Commission, giving the commission authority to regulate beyond oil and gas. This legislation creates a pathway for new state regulatory approvals including enabling expanded geothermal electric generation.
Also this summer, at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Governor Polis signed HB23-1252 Thermal Energy sponsored by Representatives Sheila Lieder and Cathy Kipp, Senators Tony Exum, and Chris Hansen to advance the adoption of clean geothermal energy heating and cooling systems, saving people money and creating good-paying jobs.
The broader recommendations of the report focus on electricity generation, heating and cooling, market development, and transition opportunities and more specifically focused on:
Over the past year, WGA looked at opportunities and challenges associated with geothermal energy use in the West and the future development of geothermal technology. Through the research, WGA identified the next steps for developing geothermal energy on a larger scale and ways to make the technology more accessible.
Geothermal energy is found below the earth’s surface and used for heating and cooling, and electricity generation, and produces energy constantly.
WGA hosted webinars, workshops, and tours at geothermal sites across the Western states and held stakeholder meetings to ensure a range of perspectives were included in the process. WGA compiled this extensive research and identified the next steps in developing geothermal energy and technology.