Policy Update

The Heat is On: A 2024 Outlook on State Geothermal Energy Policies

March 20, 2024



NCEL Point of Contact

Ava Gallo
Climate and Energy Program Manager



A wave of U.S. states are working to deploy geothermal energy to improve energy efficiency and diversify their clean energy mixes. By capitalizing on emerging energy technologies, such as geothermal, these states are expanding their ability to address the climate crisis head-on. In 2024, at least 42 bills are being considered across 14 states that would promote the development of geothermal energy resources. 

What is Geothermal and Why Is it Important? 

Geothermal energy refers to the heat derived from the Earth, primarily resources from hot water reservoirs beneath the Earth’s surface. These resources can be utilized for various purposes such as generating clean energy with modern geothermal power plants emitting no greenhouse gasses and producing electricity 24/7. Geothermal energy can be tapped almost anywhere with geothermal heat pumps and direct-use applications.

  • Learn more: Download NCEL’s new Geothermal Fact Sheet for more information on geothermal energy and relevant policy solutions. 

The 2024 State of Play – Which States Are Moving Bills? 

Of the 14 states that have introduced geothermal legislation in 2024 so far, many are focused on increasing funding for geothermal projects and exploration. As of March, five states have passed legislation, with New Mexico and New York having signed bills into law

At least 14 states (in blue) have introduced legislation in 2024 to promote the development of geothermal energy resources.

Passed Legislation

  • New Mexico H.B.91 creates two new state funds to increase the deployment of geothermal energy: 1) the Geothermal Project Development Fund, which funds programs for studying the costs and benefits of proposed geothermal projects, and 2.) the Geothermal Projects Revolving Loan Fund, for financing geothermal development projects. 
  • New York S.8060 authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation to regulate closed-loop boreholes installed to facilitate geothermal heating or cooling systems.
  • Maryland H.B.397 requires large gas companies to develop plans for a pilot geothermal energy network system(s) by October 2024. 

Active Legislation

  • Virginia S.B.508 passed the legislature and is awaiting signature by the Governor. The bill would establish geothermal energy as eligible for compliance with the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard requirements.
  • Washington S.B.6039 passed the legislature and is awaiting signature by the Governor. The bill would require the state’s Geological Survey to maintain a comprehensive database of publicly available subsurface geologic information and to establish a competitive cost-share grant program to incentivize exploration for locations suitable for geothermal energy. 
  • Hawaii S.B.2518 has passed the Senate and would appropriate money to the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation for geothermal energy exploration.

Stay Informed on State Policy With NCEL

Stay up to date on trends in geothermal policy and other emerging energy technologies across the country this year with NCEL’s Bill Tracking Map