U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, the Defense Innovation Unit, and Industry Advance DoD Installation Energy Resilience with Geothermal Energy Solutions

U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, the Defense Innovation Unit, and Industry Advance DoD Installation Energy Resilience with Geothermal Energy Solutions
Photo by Calpine Corporation, NREL 17270.
Photo by Calpine Corporation, NREL 17270.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (September 27, 2023) — To power mission activities Department of Defense (DoD) installations often use electricity delivered through miles of electrical lines and fuel transported from distant locations. Prolonged power disruptions from wildfires, extreme weather, cybersecurity attacks and other events increase risks to DoD missions . Local and carbon-free sources of energy, such as from geothermal technologies, can provide continuous and reliable power, regardless of external disruptions.

“This is a first-of-its-kind effort within the DoD, and we are pleased to support deployment of advanced commercial technologies for installation and community energy resilience leveraging carbon-free energy sources,” said Michael Callahan, DIU Senior Energy Advisor and Program Manager.

The U.S. Air Force, The U.S. Army, and The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) have initiated exploratory geothermal projects at four installations in the United States, completing agreements with three companies: Eavor Inc., Teverra, and Zanskar Geothermal and Minerals, Inc.

  • Eavor Inc.’s technology employs a deep closed-loop geothermal solution that involves a subsurface heat exchanger relying on conductive heat transfer rather than convection or reservoir fluid flow.  The design requires no stimulation and has minimal water use.  Air Force’s Joint Base San Antonio in Texas, will explore the potential of this technology.
  • Teverra, LLC, is a subsurface technology company providing an integrated project development system that amplifies energy exploration, resource delineation, and production optimization through use of their cutting edge technology suite. Teverra will be conducting activities at Army’s Fort Wainwright in Alaska.
  • Zanskar Geothermal & Minerals, Inc. is a geothermal exploration and development technology company that has created an AI-enabled discovery platform to more quickly and accurately identify and de-risk geothermal resources. Zanskar will deploy their technology at two installations: Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, and at the Army’s Fort Irwin in California.

“We are in an era of strategic competition with China, which means that our installations are no longer a sanctuary from the full spectrum of threats,” said Dr. Ravi Chaudhary, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment. “We need to ruggedize our installations with redundant energy systems and make use of clean energy sources that reduce our fuel demands. Geothermal sources strengthen our energy grids and give us the ability to isolate threats before they impact our operations.”

“The Army must develop a diversified energy portfolio to mitigate and adapt to the challenges associated with climate change. Geothermal energy is often overlooked as a viable energy resource, especially within federal agencies like the Department of Defense,” said Michael Jones, U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives. “We are driven by a strategic commitment to secure carbon-pollution-free, 24/7 resilient energy needed to sustain our mission under all foreseeable conditions.”

The Department of Energy’s “GeoVision” analysis estimates that, ‘through technology improvements, geothermal electricity generation capacity has the potential to increase to over 26 times the current geothermal generation capacity in the US to 60 gigawatts by 2050.’  Recognizing this great potential, DIU is exploring additional opportunities to expand the impact of this DoD initiative with additional partners at more sites.

DIU’s Geothermal for Installations effort supports critical targets in 10 USC 2920 and Executive Order 14057 that by 2030 require all critical missions at DoD installations obtain at least 99.9% energy resilience and Federal agencies match facility electrical energy use on an hourly basis to achieve 50 percent 24/7 carbon free energy.