PhotoWind and solar have dominated discussions of America’s renewable energy future. But another promising energy source lies hidden in the heat beneath our feet.

It’s called geothermal energy and taps the immense heat generated by the interior of the earth, providing clean energy. But geothermal today is only 0.4 percent of America’s energy mix.

In the west, geothermal power is easy to tap from hot underground water. But new technology will be needed to use geothermal in the east. Yet we need more than science and technology.

GAWELL: “It’s not just driven by technology, it’s also driven by policy.”

That’s Karl Gawell of the Geothermal Energy Association. He argues government policies to promote clean energy would give geothermal a big boost. Still, Gaywell is optimistic…

GAWELL: “We see projects of different sizes and maturity in about fourteen western states, ranging from Texas all the way up to Alaska. In the future, I think you’ll see more than half the country with geothermal projects moving forward.”

Gaywell adds that when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, geothermal can provide a backup, helping make renewables a more reliable part of our energy future.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Geothermal Energy Association
Geothermal power industry lost steam but may be poised for comeback
The Future of Geothermal Energy

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...