The US Energy Department has announced $29m in funding to advance research and develop enhanced geothermal systems.

Awarded with the support of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the funding will be offered under the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program to teams at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Utah.

The teams will work on identifying potential candidate sites in Fallon, Nevada and Milford, Utah for an underground laboratory used for enhanced geothermal system research.

US Science and Energy Under Secretary Franklin Orr said: “Enhanced Geothermal Systems can help us tap into a vast energy resource with the potential to generate enough clean energy to power millions of homes.

“In supporting this technology, the FORGE program is advancing American leadership in clean energy innovation and could ultimately help us meet our climate and sustainability goals.”

The funding will also help the two teams to prepare for the competitive third phase of the program to determine potential site, which will be the headquarters for the future underground field lab.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid said: “Nevada will be the perfect location for the Department of Energy’s new FORGE laboratory.

“The nation’s lab for advancing geothermal energy belongs in Nevada and will further establish Nevada as a leader in renewable energy.”

According to estimates, investments in EGS technologies could generate more than 100GW of economically viable power in the continental US.