U.S. to Fund Non-Electric Uses of Geothermal Energy

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is willing to fund the development of innovative uses of geothermal energy in direct applications.

GOLDEN, Colorado – The agency of the U.S. Department of Energy has issued a request for a two-phased project to develop innovative geothermal direct use system concepts under NREL’s Geothermal Program. The project is for direct use applications of geothermal resources, including wells or springs in the temperature range of 80 to 350 F located in the United States except for single-family home usage, resort spa heating only or geothermal heat pumps . Generation of electricity is not a direct use application and is not included in this RFP. Acceptable projects would address the use of geothermal for district space heating and/or cooling in multifamily or commercial buildings, greenhouse heating, industrial process heat or hot water, or aquaculture. Funding will be provided only for the geothermal delivery system as it pertains to the direct use application, and does not include ancillary facilities such as an expansion in size of an existing geothermal facility, or a variation of an existing facility. The source of the geothermal fluid may be either a well or a hot spring, and bidding companies must already have a drilled production well or an existing spring. In the first phase, the winning bidders will do all aspects of the design of the project and provide a technical and price proposal for the performance of the second phase, at which time selected companies will construct the facility and report on the performance of the facility for a minimum of two years. NREL will limit its funding to $75,000 per project in the first phase and $1 million per project in the second. The anticipated period of performance for Phase I is six months with total funding availability of $300,000. Funding for Phase II depends on authorization by the U.S. Congress, but NREL anticipates that total funding for all projects and both phases would not exceed $5 million. Bids will be evaluated on the Status and Characteristics of Geothermal Resource (25 percent), Project Concept and Description (30 percent), Qualifications and Experience (20 percent), Price Participation by the bidder (10 percent) and Programmatic Criteria (15 percent). Bids are due by February 22, with evaluation complete by April and awards by May.

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