Geothermal: Past, Present, and Furture

  • The beginning

    The first hot springs were found.
  • Creating warm water

    The first time geothermal energy was used to create warm water by Asa Thompson
  • World's first district heating system

    Folks in Boise, Idaho, feel the heat of the world's first district heating system as water is piped from hot springs to town buildings. Within a few years, the system is serving 200 homes and 40 downtown businesses.
  • Greenhouse and DHE

    The first commercial greenhouse use of geothermal energy is undertaken in Boise, Idaho. The operation uses a 1000-foot well drilled in 1926. In Klamath Falls, Charlie Lieb develops the first downhole heat exchanger (DHE) to heat his house.
  • Carl Nielsen

    Geothermal technology moves east when Professor Carl Nielsen of Ohio State University develops the first ground-source heat pump, for use at his residence.
  • The Geothermal Steam Act

    The Geothermal Steam Act is enacted, which provides the Secretary of the Interior with the authority to lease public lands and other federal lands for geothermal exploration and development in an environmentally sound manner.
  • The Energy Policy Act

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was signed into law. It changed U.S. energy policy by providing tax incentives and loan guarantees for various types of energy production. It included provisions aimed at making geothermal energy more competitive with fossil fuels in generating electricity.
  • The Energy Independence and Security Act

    The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which includes the Advanced Geothermal Research and Development Act of 2007 provided authorization and direction for DOE's geothermal research activities.