Nevada receives US$ 93 million DOE funding for 20 geothermal projects

Alexander Richter 5 Nov 2009

Nevada energy companies receive US$93 million in federal grants by DOE, which will fund 20 projects in Northern Nevada.

Reported locally, “Nevada energy companies will receive nearly $93 million in federal grants to develop geothermal power, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Thursday.

The money will fund 20 projects in Northern Nevada and create an estimated 1,100 jobs, said U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who made the announcement with Chu. It also will benefit Nevada companies developing five projects outside the state.

The grant recipients, most based in Reno, will match the federal funds with private money and nearly triple the number of geothermal power plants in Nevada from 21 to 60, Reid said.

“It’s an understatement to say that this is big news for Nevada,” the senator said. “Once these power plants are complete, they will generate more electricity than the Hoover Dam.”

Northern Nevada’s rich geothermal resources resulted in the state receiving a big chunk of the $338 million in federal grants to be spent throughout the nation.

The grants are being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus passed by Congress early this year to revive the economy.

“The opportunities to grow geothermal energy are huge,” Chu said during a telephone press conference. “In Nevada, the geothermal capacity is almost 500 megawatts today; it should triple in the next three years with this investment.”

Among the Reno-based geothermal developers that will receive the grants are: Ram Power, ORMAT Nevada, Nevada Geothermal Power Co., OSKI Energy, Magma Energy Corp., Geothermal Technical Partners Inc., Terra-Gen Sierra Holdings, Beowawe Power and TGP Development Co.

Also, the University of Nevada, Reno will receive more than $2 million for two separate research projects to aid the development of geothermal power.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nixon, Nev., will receive nearly $5 million for an innovative exploration and drilling project at Pyramid Lake.

Reid said completion of the Nevada projects will be sped along by an announcement Wednesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that nine federal agencies have agreed to expedite permits for the construction of power lines on federal land.

“In the past, we have had federal agencies working at odds with one another,” Reid said. “They’re not going to do that any more.”