Large-scale projects for the production of geothermal energy begin, essentially, with a detailed study of rocks. As AltaRock Energy's President/Chief Technology Officer Susan Petty told GEA by email, technology improvements "are no substitute for a thorough understanding of geology." The process of gathering and analyzing data on geologic layers of Earth is a complicated dance buoyed in recent years by a focus on innovative research and development from industry experts and aided in part by federal incentives and loans.