Colorado Announces $7.7M in Awards for 35 Geothermal Energy Projects to Reduce Emissions Across Buildings and Electricity Sectors

May 29, 2024
Governor Polis’ efforts to develop Colorado’s geothermal energy resources are important to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while ensuring affordable and reliable access to clean energy for all Coloradans

Governor of Colorado Jared Polis and the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) have announced $7.7 million in grant awards through the Geothermal Energy Grant Program to advance the use of geothermal technology in the state. 

The investment will support 35 projects to install geothermal heat pumps in buildings, study and develop interconnected geothermal systems between buildings (thermal energy networks), and test and confirm geothermal resources for zero-emissions electricity generation. To leverage the state investment, awardees are expected to invest more than $100 million in the awarded projects.

Governor Polis will visit awarded project sites across the state to highlight the important work awardees are implementing to take advantage of Colorado’s abundant underground heat reserves, the topic of Governor Polis’ Chair Initiative at the Western Governors’ Association.

“Geothermal energy will play an important role in reducing pollution from two of Colorado’s highest emitting sectors: buildings and electricity,” said CEO Executive Director Will Toor. “We couldn’t be more excited to get these projects off the ground and continue leading the nation in geothermal technology advancement while also supporting good-paying jobs for Colorado’s energy workforce.”

Governor Polis’ efforts to develop Colorado’s geothermal energy resources are important to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while creating stable jobs in just transition communities and ensuring affordable and reliable access to clean energy for all Coloradans.

CEO has awarded 48% of the funding to projects in disproportionately impacted (DI) and just transition (JT) communities to ensure the investments reach Coloradans mostly impacted by poor air quality and the economic transition away from fossil fuels.

Geothermal heating and cooling projects in urban areas include fire stations, university campuses, a recreation center, a science and technology hub, and mixed-use neighborhood developments.

For instance, the City of Pueblo will use $270,000 in grant funding to install ground-source heat pumps for heating and cooling at three new, net-zero emissions fire stations. These fire stations will be located in majority black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) communities away from existing emergency services, helping reduce insurance rates and improve emergency response time and outcomes. This project will result in more than $28,000 in energy cost savings annually. 

“Installing geothermal heat pumps in Pueblo’s three newest net-zero fire stations will keep operation costs low while reducing electricity demand on the grid from these much-needed emergency services hubs,” said Pueblo Mayor Heather Graham.

Projects in rural communities will study thermal energy networks to enhance community resilience, support affordable housing development, upgrade snowmelt systems, and electrify a regional airport.

Gradient Geothermal’s project will receive a $100,000 award to assess the feasibility of developing a thermal energy network in Pierce, Colorado using inactive oil wells as a direct heat source. The site also has potential for geothermal electricity generation. 

The University of Colorado (CU) Boulder will also receive $675,000 to conduct feasibility and design studies for two interrelated geothermal projects exploring the co-generation of geothermal electricity and heat. These projects are expected to deliver on-site geothermal electricity production co-generating heat for a thermal energy network and connecting more than 12 million square feet of conditioned space across three CU Boulder Campuses.

CEO awarded several geothermal electricity site studies and test wells, representing the potential development of Colorado’s first 35 MW or more of geothermal electricity. 

Geothermal Technologies will use a $1 million award to develop a geothermal test well at the Longs Peak Dairy in Weld County, generating 3 MW of clean electricity initially and more than 180 MW upon reaching its full generation capacity. This new generation will improve grid resilience with affordable and reliable year-round electricity.

CEO will open another round of funding for the Geothermal Energy Grant Program later in 2024. The Colorado Heat Pump Tax Credit and the competitive Geothermal Electricity Tax Credit Offering are also available to support the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling, including thermal energy networks, and for electricity generation in Colorado.

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.