President Obama announcing DOE allocation of US$ 350 million for geothermal

Alexander Richter 27 May 2009

President Obama announced today funding for two new stimulus programs, one for solar energy technologies and another for developing the use of geothermal energy. Details for funding allocation of geothermal can be seen as very positive for the industry.

In his speech today at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Obama lauded the impact of the (stimulus) bill and announced funding for two new stimulus programs, one for solar energy technologies and another for developing the use of geothermal energy.

The Department of Energy, which is going to administer the program, posted the below to highlight the allocation of the money. And … this is very positive … is not as solely focused on enhanced geothermal, but also covers investments into enhancement of drilling techniques etc.

Here the details:

“The Recovery Act makes a US$350 million new investment in this technology, dwarfing previous government commitments. Recovery Act funding will support projects in four crucial areas: geothermal demonstration projects; Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) research and development; innovative exploration techniques; and a National Geothermal Data System, Resource Assessment and Classification System.

Geothermal Demonstration Projects (US$140 Million)
Funding will support demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies to advance geothermal energy in new geographic areas, as well as geothermal energy production from oil and natural gas fields, geopressured fields, and low to moderate temperature geothermal resources.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology Research and Development ($80 Million)
Funding will support research of EGS technology to allow geothermal power generation across the country. Conventional geothermal energy systems must be located near easily-accessible geothermal water resources, limiting its nationwide use.  EGS makes use of available heat resources through engineered reservoirs, which can then be tapped to produce electricity. While the long-term goal of EGS is to generate cost competitive clean electricity, enabling research and development is needed to demonstrate the technology’s readiness in the near-term.

Innovative Exploration Techniques (US$100 Million)
Funding will support projects that include exploration, siting, drilling, and characterization of a series of exploration wells utilizing innovative exploration techniques. Exploration of geothermal energy resources can carry a high upfront risk.  By investing in and validating innovative exploration technologies and methods, DOE can help reduce the level of upfront risk for the private sector, allowing for increased investment and discovery of new geothermal resources.

National Geothermal Data System, Resource Assessment, and Classification System ($30 Million)
The long-term success of geothermal energy technologies depends upon a detailed characterization of geothermal energy resources nationwide.  In 2008, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) conducted an assessment of high temperature resource potential in the Western United States.

To fully leverage new low-temperature, geopressured, co-production, and EGS technologies, DOE will support a nationwide assessment of geothermal resources, working through the USGS and other partners.  Second, DOE will support the development of a nationwide data system to make resource data available to academia, researchers, and the private sector.  Finally, DOE will support the development of a geothermal resource classification system for use in determining site potential.”

The U.S. Geothermal Energy Association already issued an announcement applauding President Obama.  “There are more geothermal power projects under development today than have been built in the history of the United States,” according to Karl Gawell, GEA’s Executive Director. “This stimulus funding will help make sure those projects are successfully completed and will help develop the technology needed to bring tens of thousands of additional megawatts on line,” he added.

The GEA is “also enthusiastic about the scope of the announcement. The President’s announcement included funding for geothermal demonstration projects, enhanced geothermal systems, innovative exploration techniques, and new resource assessment. “These are all critical areas for geothermal technology development,” Gawell stated. “Geothermal energy is a widespread and complex resource base, and this announcement recognizes the need to move forward with technology development across several different applications and resources,” he added.

Source: CBS, Department of Energy (DOE), GEA announcement