For the past few decades, we’ve touted the benefits of clean energy and all its various modes – and the need to expedite its implementation.

Solar, wind, hydro, steam, even nuclear – these remain the gold standard in terms of carbon-free energy generation.

However, there is another that has gone under the radar that is picking up steam in its own right.

And the radar isn’t the only thing that it’s under…

We’re talking about geothermal energy – the heat that is stored beneath the earth’s surface.

While the supply of solar and wind energy is dependent on, well, sunshine and wind, the same is not true about geothermal energy.

“The heat beneath our feet is 24/7/365,” U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said at the 2023 CERAWeek by S&P Global. “Depending on how far down you go … you can power the entire world over with being able to pull up heat from beneath our feet.”

And while this mode of clean energy isn’t new to the scene – the first instance of geothermal energy came back in the 1970s – the technological capabilities of harvesting it are.

Given the state of global energy in the face of the war in Ukraine, any mode of energy generation outside of oil that isn’t being fully harnessed has come under the microscope. In that ilk, there may be no riper opportunity than geothermal.

Currently, we are only harvesting roughly 1/13th of the capacity of geothermal energy generation.

It should come as no surprise that startups are leading the charge in bridging that gap and maximizing this industry.

Like Houston-based Fervo Energy, which plans to harvest geothermal energy stored in hot rock reservoirs. Or Canadian-based Eavor Technologies, which is essentially transforming wells into underground radiators (it’s a lot more complicated than that).

These are only a couple of the startups working to change the landscape of geothermal energy.

And its not just the generation of geothermal energy that is in the crosshairs of startups.

A number of offshoots exist from the process of harnessing this energy, and you better believe early-stage companies are at the forefront.

This serves as a reminder that zigging while others zag carries immense potential. In the face of solar, wind, and hydro energy, geothermal presents an interesting alternative that remains relatively untapped.

With the help of startups, it could be as powerful as any – and energize portfolios in the process.