Public and private investment in technology designed to mine energy from under the earth's surface is picking up, according to Christian Science Monitor. Google has pledged more than $10 million to develop technology that would make geothermal energy a commercially viable alternative. However, drilling such a well is an expensive venture that will require millions more dollars in funding than federal aid can subsidize right now. The hope is that the new White House administration will increase geothermal R&D.

"If sufficient [research and development] funding were invested in the next 20 years or so, as much as 10 or 20 percent of the electricity in the United States could come from geothermal," said Robert Neilson, head of the renewable energy and power technologies department at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory.

Though the United States is the leading producer of geothermal electricity, the prospect of developing enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) that would use technology to inject or fracture water is inspiring the geothermal research and development movement.

"EGS could be the 'killer app' of the energy world," said Dan Reicher, Google.org’s director of climate and energy initiatives. "It has the potential to deliver vast quantities of power 24/7 and be captured nearly anywhere on the plant."