Obama Announces US $467M in Stimulus Funding for Geothermal and Solar Energy Projects

President Barack Obama announced that more than US $467 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act could be used to expand development, deployment and use of geothermal and solar energy throughout the United States.

The Recovery Act makes a US $350 million investment in geothermal technology. Recovery Act funding will support projects in four 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 will recieve $140 million. Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology Research and Development will get $80 million. EGS makes use of available heat resources through engineered reservoirs, which can then be tapped to produce electricity. While the long-term goal of EGS is to generate cost competitive clean electricity, enabling research and development is needed to demonstrate the technology’s readiness in the near-term.

Research into innovative exploration techniques will get $100 million. Finally, a National Geothermal Data System, Resource Assessment, and Classification System be see $30 million invested. DOE will support the development of a nationwide data system to make resource data available to academia, researchers, and the private sector.  Finally, DOE will support the development of a geothermal resource classification system for use in determining site potential.

Solar energy will see a $117.6 million investment. Photovoltaic technology development will account for $51.5 million and another $40.5 million will be used for deployment. 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.

Finally, CSP technology research and development will get $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.

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