Iceland and U.S. Sign Agreement to Develop and Deploy Geothermal Energy

Hellisheidi Geothermal Plant in Hengill, Iceland
The Hellisheidi Geothermal Plant in Hengill, Iceland.
(cc) Chris Beckett

Today the United States and Iceland signed a bilateral agreement aimed at increasing the world’s understanding of advanced geothermal technologies and accelerating their deployment. The agreement was signed by U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, Luis Arreaga, and Icelandic Minister of Industry, Energy, and Tourism, Katrin Juliusdottir.

The new agreement, entitled “Scientific and Technological Cooperation on Geothermal Research and Development,” was established cooperatively by the U.S. Department of Energy and Iceland’s Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism. It is designed to allow an exchange of researchers, joint projects, and education initiatives to accelerate advanced geothermal development, and to identify key obstacles to increasing the use of this renewable energy resource. Demonstrating cutting-edge geothermal technologies will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in both countries, while significantly cutting carbon pollution and creating new jobs in geothermal research, deployment, and operations.

The signing of the bilateral agreement between the United States and Iceland punctuates a week of international meetings on geothermal energy held October 3 to 9 in Reykjavik, Iceland. During the meetings, representatives from nations across the globe engaged in working group sessions to help facilitate the development of advanced, cost-effective geothermal technologies, increase the availability of these technologies internationally, and identify and address wider issues relating to geothermal energy. Nations represented in this week’s events include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

The International Partnership for Geothermal Technology (IPGT) also hosted meetings in Iceland this week where it welcomed Switzerland as its newest member country. The IPGT, chartered in 2008 by DOE, the Australian Ministry of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and the Icelandic Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Tourism, focuses on cutting-edge geothermal technologies that will help ensure energy security and address global climate change by expanding the deployment of baseload, renewable energy from geothermal resources. Switzerland is the fourth nation to join the IPGT.

The IPGT is committed to leveraging the combined experience of world experts to commercialize advanced geothermal technologies on an international scale. Swiss technical experts will bring to the IPGT their technical knowledge in induced seismicity, a new topic to be added to the six existing, high-priority areas identified by IPGT as crucial to the development of the geothermal industries in each country. Other key research areas under the partnership include: exploration techniques, tools and techniques to isolate or close off specific sections of geothermal wells and fractures, high temperature tools, methods for creating and improving geothermal reservoirs, reservoir modeling, and lower-cost drilling. Addressing these barriers through international collaboration will help the partner nations move more quickly to develop their substantial geothermal resources.

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