As I wrote on my website regarding geothermal energy and it’s potential widespread use for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems:
Among alternative energy, wind and solar get all the media attention, all the glamour. Yet both suffer from intermittency, from the problem that their power sources wax and wane. Solar disappears at night and weakens when clouds interrupt, while wind has its own unpredictable schedule. By contrast, geothermal draws on heat from deep below the earth to provide reliable base load power 24 hours a day. Unlike solar, it’s also currently competitive with conventional energy costs. Yet geothermal remains the Charlie Brown of renewables (or perhaps the Rodney Dangerfield): Although widespread development is often predicted, such hopes are repeatedly jerked away.
Getting geothermal moving forward was the topic of a recent Geothermal Energy Association conference in Washington, D.C., dedicated to moving the technology forward. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon (an important geothermal state) delivered the keynote address, explaining that regulatory hurdles to geothermal, such as federal land management rules, need to be expedited. In addition, geothermal needs tax credit parity with wind and solar. Wind only took off after it been given relatively long-term government support (although not comparable to the support given oil and gas).