Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary has announced up to $338 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of new geothermal fields as well as for research into advanced geothermal technologies. The newly announced grants will be awarded to 123 projects in 39 states and will be matched more than one-for-one with an additional $353 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds, for a total grant pool of $691 million. This is a pretty big number and represents a major investment in a promising and yet often overlooked renewable energy resource. Recipients of the new grant funding include private industry, academic institutions, tribal entities, local governments, and DOE’s National Laboratories.
The Obama administration announced $350 million in stimulus funds to help expand geothermal resources and break down technological barriers. This is a huge jump in funding, dwarfing all previous government commitments and is more than all the funding for geothermal energy put together over the last 20 years. It also represents a dramatic reversal of previous trends of diminishing funding for this often overlooked renewable energy sector.