Geothermal Energy Advanced by DOE's $38 Million Backing

September 14, 2011

DOE announced on September 8 that it will award $38 million over three years for projects to accelerate the development of promising geothermal energy technologies. Thirty-two innovative projects in 14 states will develop and test new ways to locate geothermal resources and improve resource characterization, drilling, and reservoir engineering techniques. These advances will play an important role in achieving President Obama's goal of generating 80% of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

This investment in clean energy development is part of DOE's comprehensive effort to reduce the cost of geothermal energy, making it more competitive with conventional sources of baseload electricity. Projects will perform feasibility studies before advancing to prototyping and validation, which will be conducted through laboratory-based research and field-testing. The selected projects will support DOE's goals of lowering the cost and financial risk associated with confirming and characterizing geothermal resources and will help overcome key technical challenges to reservoir creation and the sustainability of enhanced geothermal systems. For example, DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will predict changes in fluid flow through fractures and will improve current methods of estimating geothermal reservoir temperatures to enable subsurface imaging and reduce exploration costs. And, Impact Technologies of Tulsa, Oklahoma, will examine the feasibility of employing intense radiation technology to drill and seal off the walls of geothermal wells in order to reduce drilling costs. See the DOE press release and the Geothermal Technologies Program website.