The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has recently announced a round of funding aimed at helping geothermal energy efforts off the ground…or, perhaps more appropriately, IN the ground.
A recent announcement by DOE Secretary Steven Chu highlights the availability of up to $70 million in new funding over three years for technology advancements in geothermal energy. The DOE believes that much research and development is needed in order to accelerate geothermal energy development and make the process more efficient.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), new geothermal resources could add up to 30 gigawatts of renewable energy to the U.S. energy supply but to make that projection a reality, the DOE believes development of innovative exploration technologies is necessary to help locate prime geothermal energy resources. The funding is also intended to help advance drilling and reservoir engineering techniques so that when promising geothermal energy locations are identified, development on power plants can get moving faster.
A recent report from Pike Research indicates that, under the right conditions, geothermal energy could become a major part of the United States’ renewable energy portfolio, perhaps doubling in generation capacity over the next 9 years. As far as the Geothermal Energy Association is concerned, however, private funding for geothermal energy projects is what will be necessary to significantly expand geothermal’s role in the country’s energy production. Perhaps this DOE funding will attract some innovative ideas to the table and get geothermal moving in the right direction: down.