Characterizing U.S. Heat Demand for Potential Application of Geothermal Direct Use: Preprint

Kevin McCabe, Timothy Reber, Katherine Young, Michael Gleason

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In this paper, we assess the U.S. demand for low-temperature thermal energy at the county resolution for four major end-use sectors: residential buildings, commercial buildings, manufacturing facilities, and agricultural facilities. Existing, publicly available data on the U.S. thermal demand market are characterized by coarse spatial resolution, with assessments typically at the state-level or larger. For many uses, these data are sufficient; however, our research was motivated by an interest in assessing the potential demand for direct use (DU) of low-temperature (30 degrees to 150 degrees C) geothermal heat. The availability and quality of geothermal resources for DU applications are highly spatially heterogeneous; therefore, to assess the potential market for these resources, it is necessary to understand the spatial variation in demand for low-temperature resources at a local resolution. This paper presents the datasets and methods we used to develop county-level estimates of the thermal demand for the residential, commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Although this analysis was motivated by an interest in geothermal energy deployment, the results are likely to have broader applications throughout the energy industry. The county-resolution thermal demand data developed in this study for four major U.S. sectors may have far-reaching implications for building technologies, industrial processes, and various distributed renewable energy thermal resources (e.g. biomass, solar).
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2016
Event40th GRC Annual Meeting - Sacramento, California
Duration: 23 Oct 201626 Oct 2016


Conference40th GRC Annual Meeting
CitySacramento, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-66460


  • agricultural
  • commercial
  • direct use
  • end-use
  • geothermal
  • Geothermal Vision Study
  • GeoVision
  • heat demand
  • heat market
  • low-temperature
  • manufacturing
  • residential
  • thermal demand


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