Geothermal Energy Gets an Advocate

Geothermal energy isn’t new. In fact, it’s over a hundred years old, but geographic limitations and problems with efficient energy delivery have hindered its spread for most of the past 100 years. That’s because geothermal production is very temperamental. If there aren’t enough rocks to soak up heat or the surveyed land is too hostile to construction, energy production can be sharply reduced or even rendered impossible.

Dan Ellis, Chairman of the new Geothermal Exchange Organization, thinks geothermal development is getting a frosty reception in Washington. “With recent political upheavals in Washington, DC—and the growth of geothermal heat pump installations in the United States to approximately 100,000 units per year," Ellis said to industry website ContractingBusiness.com, "major equipment manufacturers, distributors and utilities saw the need to refocus Consortium activities toward industry advocacy."

That means good things for groups like the International District Energy Association, a Planet Forward contributor with ambitious geothermal plans. Back in October, IDEA showed us how their lake-based thermal pumping system provided 62,000 tons of sustainable air conditioning to an entire city. Despite clearing the air of pollutants associated with air conditioning chemicals, IDEA lives on the edges of mainstream attention.

GEO seeks to change that balance by promoting the success stories of contributors like IDEA. By expanding the audience for their innovative energy solutions, IDEA can capitalize on its recent sustainability research at the University of Texas, which they shared with Planet Forward in this great video.

The ground is heating up under geothermal energy. Can contributors like IDEA gain traction in the halls of government now that a dedicated geothermal advocacy firm is making the case? Should geothermal organizations with academic ties be pursuing legislative goals? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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