Wednesday, May 27, 2009

$467 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Geothermal & Solar

President Obama and Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu today announced over $467 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of geothermal and solar energy throughout the U.S. The funding represents a substantial down payment that will help the solar and geothermal industries overcome technical barriers, demonstrate new technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs for years to come.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is a clean source of renewable energy that harnesses heat from the Earth for heating applications and electricity generation; geothermal plants can operate around the clock to provide significant uninterrupted "base load" electricity, or the minimum amount a power utility must provide to its customers.

The Recovery Act makes a $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 ($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 R & D ($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.

Innovative Exploration Techniques ($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.

Solar Energy

DOE will provide $117.6 million in Recovery Act funding to accelerate widespread commercialization of clean solar energy technologies across America. These activities will leverage partnerships that include DOE's national laboratories, universities, local government, and the private sector, to strengthen the U.S. solar industry and make it a leader in international markets.

Photovoltaic Technology Development ($51.5 Million)

DOE will expand investment in advanced photovoltaic concepts and high impact technologies, with the aim of making solar energy cost-competitive with conventional sources of electricity and to strengthen the competitiveness and capabilities of domestic manufacturers.

Solar Energy Deployment ($40.5 Million)

Projects in this area will focus on non-technical barriers to solar energy deployment, including grid connection, market barriers to solar energy adoption in cities, and the shortage of trained solar energy installers.

Concentrating Solar Power R & D ($25.6 Million)

This work will focus on improving the reliability of concentrating solar power technologies and enhancing the capabilities of DOE National Laboratories to provide test and evaluation support to the solar industry.

For information on these and other Funding Opportunities under the Recovery Act, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's Recovery And Reinvestment Act page on Funding Opportunities.


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