Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Policy (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Social Sciences


Barry Solomon


When underground mines close they often fill with water from ground and surface sources; each mine can contain millions to billions of gallons of water. This water, heated by the Earth’s geothermal energy, reaches temperatures ideal for heat pumps. The sheer scale of these flooded underground mines presents a unique opportunity for large scale geothermal heat pump setups which would not be as economically, socially, and environmentally feasible anywhere else. A literature search revealed approximately 30 instances of flooded underground mines being used to heat and cool buildings worldwide. With thousands of closed/abandoned underground mines in the U.S. and a million estimated globally, why hasn’t this opportunity been more widely adopted? This project has found perception and lack of knowledge about the feasibility to be key barriers. To address these issues, this project drafted a guidebook for former mining communities titled A Community Guide to Mine Water Geothermal Heating and Cooling.