House Science Committee Passes Advanced Geothermal Research Bill

U.S. geothermal industry leaders applauded the House Science Committee on June 13 for passing HR 2304, the Advanced Geothermal Energy Research and Development Act, sponsored by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA).

“By passing HR 2304 today, the House Science Committee has taken a major step towards putting America on a sustainable energy path,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA).

In the full Science Committee markup yesterday, the Committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) that adds specific provisions for a demonstration program for oil field co-production and a “design competition” and demonstration program for geo-pressured resource production.

“This legislation establishes a program that will help develop the science and technology needed to utilize the vast untapped geothermal resources of our nation,” Gawell added. According to recent reports from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and GEA, geothermal resources hold the potential to produce large quantities of electric power, gas from geo-pressured resources, and heat energy.

HR 2304 as passed by the Committee would authorize $90 million annually from FY 2008 through FY 2012 for an advanced geothermal research program, and directs DOE to include 13 provisions, some of which include hydrothermal and other research, exploratory drilling, meeting environmental standards, demonstrations and reports.

“It was refreshing to see such strong bipartisan support for the legislation,” Gawell also noted. At the Subcommittee mark-up last week, Chairman Lampson (D-TX) and Ranking Republican Member Inglis (R-SC), and in full Committee Chairman Gordon (D-TN) and Ranking Republican Ralph Hall (R-TX), all spoke in support of the bill.

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