ARKANSAS, Nov 17 (Future Headlines)- The Colorado Energy Office (CEO), under the administration of Governor Jared Polis, has initiated the first round of applications for the Geothermal Energy Grant Program (GEGP), aimed at supporting the development of geothermal energy projects for electricity generation and space heating and cooling. The CEO is set to allocate a total of $5 million for the inaugural funding round, with an additional round expected in the next fiscal year, making a total of $12 million available for the entire grant program.

The application window for the first round of the Geothermal Energy Grant Program officially opened on November 14, 2023, and will remain open until January 19, 2024. Eligibility criteria and the application process details can be found on the Geothermal Energy Grant Program website.

Public and private entities are eligible to apply for GEGP funding, covering various geothermal projects such as single-structure geothermal installations, community district heating or thermal energy networks, and geothermal electricity generation. Single-structure geothermal projects involve installing a geothermal system as the primary source of heating and cooling for residential or nonresidential buildings, while community district heating focuses on constructing thermal systems serving multiple buildings. Geothermal electricity generation projects include the development of geothermal electricity generation technology and utilizing geothermal energy for hydrogen production or powering direct air capture technology.

To ensure that the program benefits those most impacted by air pollution, high energy costs, and the transition away from fossil fuels, the CEO will prioritize projects in disproportionately impacted, low-income, and just transition communities. Additionally, 25% of the single-structure geothermal grants are reserved for projects in these communities.

The CEO will conduct informational webinars for each sub-grant category on November 28, 2023. The registration links for the webinars are provided on the program’s website.

The Geothermal Energy Grant Program aligns with Governor Polis’ Heat Beneath Our Feet initiative, which focuses on exploring geothermal energy applications, addressing land use planning, and overcoming market barriers for this key technology in the West. Colorado’s commitment to this initiative positions it as a national leader in geothermal energy. The program aims to accelerate the growth and development of geothermal technology, playing a crucial role in achieving net-zero emissions in Colorado by 2050.

Governor Polis stated, “The heat beneath our feet — geothermal energy — provides Colorado with the opportunity to lower energy costs by harnessing zero-emission energy to generate electricity and heat and cool homes, businesses, and communities. Colorado continues to be the national leader for geothermal energy, and we look forward to seeing how these grants will continue that streak.”

Will Toor, CEO Executive Director, highlighted Colorado’s unique geography, offering robust geothermal energy potential, and expressed excitement about tapping into this expansive resource to provide clean and reliable energy. The geothermal program is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save on energy costs, and create well-paying jobs in Colorado communities.

The state of Colorado, under Governor Polis, has been proactive in supporting geothermal development. During the 2022 legislative session, two bipartisan bills focusing on geothermal research, education, and implementation were signed into law. The recent SB23-285, or the “Energy and Carbon Management Regulation in Colorado,” creates a regulatory framework for state approvals that enable expanded power generation from geothermal resources.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White