REYKJAVIK, Iceland — The U.S. Dept. of Energy formed a partnership with Australia and Iceland to advance an untapped renewable energy source that can help address climate change: enhanced geothermal systems (EGS).

The three countries signed the charter of the International Partnership for Geothermal Technology (IPGT) to explore policy and technical aspects of EGS, such as deep drilling and geothermal energy conversion.

"Enhanced geothermal systems have the potential to be the world's only ever-present form of baseload renewable energy," Acting Assistant Secretary Fredriksen said in a statement. "This international collaborative will bind the U.S., Australia and Iceland to work together to accelerate the development of geothermal energy, bringing this clean, domestic and natural energy to the market in the near-term to confront the serious challenges of climate change and energy security."

The comes a little more than a week after Google signaled its intent to invest $10 million in EGS as part of its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative. The Australian government also said recently it would spend US$42 million pursuing geothermal energy generation.

The U.S., Australia and Iceland will identify research, development and deployment projects to gain and exchange best practices. The partnership could be expanded to include more member countries.