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Renewable energy project demonstrates efficiencies, benefits of clean energy geothermal systems

By District Energy posted 05-31-2022 16:57


Dupage Policy Journal


The State of Illinois has committed to achieving a carbon-free footprint by 2050 through its recently passed Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. Plans to phase out coal-fired and natural gas power plants before 2045 means steps are needed now to move Illinois to a more sustainable future using renewable energy sources.

Geothermal energy, a natural source of renewable energy underground, is considered a consistent and efficient alternative for heating and cooling and provides a baseline source for the energy grid. Researchers and educators at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign say that geothermal energy could play an important role for Illinois to reach its zero-carbon emissions goal.

“Illinois is a state with top potential gains from geothermal adoption,” says Andrew Stumpf, principal research scientist at Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), Prairie Research Institute at Illinois. “We can significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burned for heating and cooling buildings by combining geothermal and solar energy systems to achieve a nearly net zero carbon footprint.”

Goals for the two-year geothermal energy awareness program involve educational outreach to stakeholders, development of an interactive, data-driven dashboard for the geothermal industry and government organizations, and delivery of a decision support tool to assist decision-makers in planning and implementing geothermal energy technologies. Four public webinars highlighted geothermal energy research and technology and showcased the efficiencies of successful models at community, campus, and federal levels. 43% of participants indicated interest in underground thermal energy storage to support district energy systems.

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