This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 15, 2011

DOE Announces up to $70 Million to Advance Geothermal Energy

Photo of two workers in hard hats working on geothermal pipes.

A new DOE measure will support geothermal drilling exploration crews such as these performing initial well logging tests at the Desert Peak site, Nevada.
Credit: Pat Laney

DOE announced on June 8 the availability of up to $70 million in new funding over three years for technology advancements in geothermal energy. DOE is targeting innovations in exploration technologies to locate geothermal resources, as well as in improvements in resource characterization, drilling, and reservoir engineering techniques. The goal is to reduce upfront costs and lower the price of geothermal energy.

This funding opportunity will support DOE's partnerships with industry, national laboratories, and academia to advance key technology research areas including advanced exploratory drilling to reduce costs; advanced well completion; tools to isolate fracture zones within a well by working to control injection and production of water in geothermal systems; observation tools and data collection systems for reservoir stimulation; geophysical exploration technologies such as remote sensing and advanced seismic surveying to locate hidden resources; and geochemistry and rock-fluid interactions. See the DOE press release, the funding description, and Geothermal Technologies Program website.

And on June 14, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a report outlining ways to achieve at least a tenfold increase in the global production of heat and electricity from geothermal energy between now and 2050. The IEA said that with a combination of policy actions that encourage the development of untapped geothermal resources and new technologies, geothermal energy can account for around 3.5% of annual global electricity production and 3.9% of energy for heat by 2050, an increase from current levels of 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively. See the IEA press release.