John Hall, President and CEO of Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), was invited by the DOE’s Under Secretary for Science and Innovation, Dr. Geraldine Richmond, to speak at US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm’s announcement of a new initiative on Enhanced Geothermal Systems.
The event, which took place on Sept. 8th, was attended by local, state, and federal officials, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Secretary Granholm announced the plan to make EGS, which captures heat from the earth to generate electricity, a widely available renewable energy option in the US by reducing the cost by 90%, to $45 per megawatt hour, by 2035. The DOE is investing in research and development that will allow more access to geothermal potential in order to achieve this goal.
HARC currently uses geothermal energy in its Platinum LEED-certified, net zero building located in The Woodlands. Thirty-six geothermal wells, drilled to a depth of 300 feet each, are located beneath the parking lot, and work alongside other energy efficiency measures to control temperature variances and ensure optimal air flow throughout the building.
Mr. Hall spoke about the importance of further developing this clean energy source, and HARC’s desire to partner with Secretary Granholm and her team to resolve the technical and scientific barriers to commercializing geothermal energy. He stated that HARC will work to ensure that the production and use of EGS will help resolve climate, resilience, and equity challenges; and that the efforts required to make the Secretary’s plan a success will be carried out in ways that protect the environment.