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A Geothermal Energy Boom Could be Coming to Chicago’s South Side

Summary

In a bid to ensure Chicago's Black community is not excluded from the emerging green economy, Naomi Davis of Chicago’s Blacks in Green is championing geothermal energy. The organization, having secured a $10 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, is collaborating with other environmental justice communities in the Midwest. Blacks in Green, selected by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2023, aims to develop a community geothermal heating and cooling district in Chicago’s West Woodlawn neighborhood. The key to success lies in utilizing the city's trademark alleys, overcoming challenges posed by tightly spaced lots. Geothermal energy, considered nearly inexhaustible, could provide a sustainable solution to heating and cooling, not only in Chicago but throughout the country. The project aligns with broader national initiatives, reflecting a growing commitment to environmentally friendly energy solutions. While challenges remain, including ownership and rate decisions, the hope is to explore equitable ownership models, ensuring community benefits throughout the process.

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