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‘Energy Earthshot’ Holds Potential to Create Climate Jobs That Sustain Families

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An “Energy Earthshot” goal to enhance clean geothermal energy systems announced by the federal government will open new vistas in Texas, both for the fight against climate change and for the livelihoods of working families.

The Texas AFL-CIO, joined by unions of the Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation and the Texas Climate Jobs Project, was a proud participant in an event celebrating the announcement by US. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at the training facility of Plumbers Local 68 in Houston. 

The goal seeks to price geothermal energy — which captures heat from the Earth to generate electricity — at $45 per megawatt hour by 2035.  That would be about 10 percent of the current cost.

The potential of the Enhanced Geothermal Shot is vast, Granholm said, providing a resource that could power 40 million American homes even if only a small fraction of the available heat can be captured. If the energy could be tapped at all its potential, it could power the world, the Department of Energy said.

“The United States has a vast, geothermal energy resource lying right beneath our feet,” Granholm said, “and this program will make it economical to bring that power to American households and businesses.”

Granholm  added, “DOE’s Enhanced Geothermal Shot will move geothermal technology from research and development to cost-effective commercial adoption, helping energy communities and workers transition to producing clean energy for the future.”

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy told the Houston event that the potential of geothermal energy connects beautifully with a report by the Texas Climate Jobs Project calling for one million new union jobs to deliver clean energy in Texas.

Levy said combatting climate change is a job creator, not the job killer it was once presumed to be. The government’s plan for geothermal energy recognizes Texas has existing infrastructure to tap the Earth’s heat. That infrastructure includes a highly trained, union construction workforce, along with skilled refinery workers who can operate the plants safely and reliably. Levy said the Department of Energy clearly considers maintaining strong labor standards essential to the success of the project. 

“Texas can and should remain the energy capital of the world,” Levy said. “But solving the twin crises of climate change and inequality in this state requires strong, visionary leadership. We are excited to support this project, which is the embodiment of that leadership.”

Levy reports that Plumbers Local 68 was joined at the event by representatives of the Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, Pipefitters 211, Service Employees International Union, Elevator Constructors, and other unions. 

We thank Chato Woodard of the Plumbers for relaying photos in this Facebook feed:

Houston Chronicle account:


Formal DOE announcement: