US Government Expected To Increase Geothermal Funding by 25%

The Obama administration 2011 federal budget proposal includes a 25% increase in geothermal technology funding through the Department of Energy, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) said this week.

In addition to the US $55 million requested specifically for geothermal technology development, the President’s budget also allocated energy funding that the geothermal industry will have a chance to compete for. This funding includes $300 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy to assist in developing technologies such as the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) that an MIT report says could prove upwards of 800,000 MW of geothermal power across the United States.

The budget also gives $500 million in credit subsidy to support $3 billion to $5 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and directs DOE to take the lead in federal efforts to double renewable energy generating capacity by 2012, a target that GEA’s most recent report says is possible within the industry. 

The Treasury Department budget proposes an additional $5 billion to expand tax credits for new renewable manufacturing facilities and the budget would add funds for the Department of Interior (DOI) to speed up permitting geothermal and other renewable projects on public lands, adding $14 million to the currently $50 million DOI renewable energy budget.

“The United States is the world leader in geothermal energy production and the industry, with its expected double digit year-over-year growth, will be keeping our nation at the forefront of renewable energy development. We applaud President Obama’s emphasis on the need for our country to lead the world in renewable energy during his State of the Union address. His budget increases funding for geothermal energy, showing that this country is serious about developing the new technologies that will ensure energy independence, help sustain our planet, and create jobs,” said Karl Gawell, GEA’s executive director.

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