Polis Administration Highlights Bold Progress, Leadership on Low-Cost Energy including Geothermal, at Clean Energy Summit

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Hosted alongside City of Denver, Green by Iceland, and Icelandic Embassy, event explored opportunities to strengthen cooperation between Colorado and Iceland around innovative geothermal energy and carbon management technologies

Denver - Thursday, Jun. 20, 2024 - The State of Colorado co-hosted the “Our Climate Future: Colorado-Iceland Clean Energy Summit'' at the McNichols Civic Center Building in Denver Thursday with Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, Green by Iceland, and the Embassy of Iceland in Washington D.C. Both Colorado and Iceland are international leaders in geothermal technology and are also advancing carbon management technologies to further cut pollution and improve air quality.

“Colorado is a leader on climate action and we are proud to partner with Iceland for the Colorado-Iceland Clean Energy Summit. We are bringing together energy leaders from across Colorado and Iceland to continue moving forward on clean energy with a focus on geothermal heating and energy. In Iceland, nearly all the homes and businesses are heated with geothermal energy and geothermal electricity represents about 30% of the power on the grid. I’m excited to convene this coalition of leaders for paving the way in geothermal energy and look forward to continuing work with Iceland and our Nordic partners to boost investments in Colorado, save people money on energy, and protect our environment for generations to come,” said Governor Polis.

At the summit, government officials, energy industry leaders, businesses, and other stakeholders from both Colorado and Iceland highlighted advancements in technology and explored collaborative opportunities to accelerate the transition to clean energy. Speakers included Governor Jared Polis; Colorado Energy Office (CEO) Executive Director Will Toor; Energy and Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) Director Julie Murphy; and Iceland’s Ambassador to the United States Berdís Ellertsdόttir. A full list of speakers and the summit agenda are available on the Colorado-Iceland Clean Energy Summit webpage.

“We are incredibly proud to host the first-ever Colorado-Iceland Clean Energy Summit in the Mile High City,” said Adeeb Khan, Executive Director of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity. “This event will bolster ties between our regions and showcase the importance of global connectivity as we learn from clean energy leaders across the world. We are grateful to be part of this collaborative approach.”

Geothermal technology will be essential to achieve net-zero emissions in Colorado by 2050, with cross-sector applications including extremely efficient, zero-emissions building heating and cooling and reliable clean electricity generation, regardless of weather conditions. The Polis Administration is committed to advancing geothermal technology in the state through the Governor’s Heat Beneath Our Feet Initiative as chair of the Western Governors’ Association, as well as through grants, geothermal electricity investment and production incentives, and heat pump tax credits.

“Iceland is the world’s largest per capita clean energy producer, having harnessed geothermal heat to meet its energy needs for more than a century,” said CEO Executive Director Will Toor. “Iceland’s extensive experience using geothermal technology makes it an invaluable partner as we work to adopt and advance new and existing geothermal technology in Colorado. Together, Colorado and Iceland can set an example for countries around the world to take advantage of this important clean energy resource.”

“The knowledge exchange and relationship building between Iceland and Colorado is really exciting, and promising for developing clean, affordable, geothermal energy sources here in Colorado,” said ECMC Director Julie Murphy. “Geothermal and other technologies have tremendous benefits for helping Colorado reach our climate goals while meeting our energy needs. The Commission has benefitted from this technical exchange with Iceland — a world-leading geothermal expert — to better understand the benefits of and possibilities of developing geothermal in concert with Colorado’s commitment to protecting communities and natural resources."

In addition to geothermal energy, Iceland and Colorado are both innovation hubs for new carbon management technologies, including point-of-source carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture (DAC). Alongside other emissions reduction measures like fuel switching and process improvements, CCUS can help hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as industry and manufacturing achieve key climate goals.

DAC removes carbon dioxide directly from the air regardless of the source and will likely play an important role in the global effort to minimize the impacts of climate change. Iceland is home to Orca, the world’s first large-scale DAC plant, and Mammoth, a DAC plant ten times the size of Orca. In Colorado, Global Thermostat operates the second largest DAC facility in North America. Several other DAC and CCUS projects are also underway in Colorado, and the state is working in collaboration with Wyoming to continue advancing these technologies. Colorado offers financial support for carbon management projects through its Clean Air Program and Industrial Tax Credit Offering and is currently working on a roadmap exploring carbon management policies and opportunities in the state. The state will publish a first draft of the roadmap by September 1.

“The Colorado-Iceland Clean Energy Summit brought together clean energy leaders to engage with and learn from each other; forging a strong international partnership and opening doors for future collaboration,” said Iceland’s Ambassador to the United States Berdís Ellertsdόttir. “The work that Iceland and Colorado are doing to advance geothermal energy and carbon management technologies will make these emissions reduction strategies more accessible and affordable to implement, helping mitigate climate change, address increasing global energy costs, and enhance energy independence and security around the world.”