Colorado explores geothermal and hydrogen power to go 100% renewable.

By Oliver Townsend Jul 7, 2024
State assesses geothermal, hydrogen power to help make Colorado 100% renewable.jpegOrginal image from:

Colorado is paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future by exploring the potential of geothermal and hydrogen power in its energy transition. With a goal to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, the state is looking at innovative ways to harness alternative energy sources. New reports highlight the opportunities presented by geothermal and hydrogen energy to complement the existing wind, solar, and battery resources in the state. These reports delve into the benefits, challenges, economics, and mechanics of integrating geothermal and hydrogen power into Colorado’s energy landscape.

Geothermal Power: Tapping into Colorado’s Potential

Geothermal energy holds immense promise for Colorado due to its unique geological features. Governor Jared Polis is particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of geothermal energy in the state, citing Colorado’s abundant subsurface heat as a key advantage. The Western Governors’ Association has also recognized the significant role geothermal energy can play in the region, with the U.S. boasting a substantial portion of the world’s geothermal energy capacity. In Colorado, areas like the Upper Arkansas Valley, Raton Basin, Piceance Basin, San Juan Basin, and parts of the Denver Basin are identified as having high potential for geothermal electricity production.

Driving Innovation and Growth

The Colorado Energy Office’s geothermal grant program has already seen positive responses, with grants awarded to various projects across the state. Companies like Gradient Geothermal are exploring the feasibility of developing thermal energy networks in areas like Steamboat Springs and the University of Colorado-Boulder. By repurposing existing oil and gas infrastructure for geothermal energy production, Colorado is not only advancing its renewable energy goals but also creating new opportunities for economic growth and innovation.

Hydrogen Power: A Clean Energy Alternative

Another promising avenue for clean energy in Colorado is hydrogen power. While hydrogen has the potential to decarbonize industries like shipping, steel-making, and transportation, there are challenges associated with its production and distribution. Startup companies like NovoHydrogen in Golden are leading the way in producing “green” hydrogen using renewable energy sources. Xcel Energy-Colorado has proposed blending hydrogen with natural gas to reduce emissions, showcasing the potential for hydrogen as a versatile and eco-friendly fuel source.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Innovation

As Colorado navigates the transition to renewable energy, it must address safety and infrastructure concerns related to hydrogen production and transportation. Collaborative efforts between the state, utilities, and companies are essential in ensuring the safe integration of hydrogen into Colorado’s energy mix. By investing in research, technology, and infrastructure, Colorado can position itself as a leader in sustainable energy solutions while driving economic growth and environmental stewardship.

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