U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced up to $338 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of new geothermal fields, and research into advanced geothermal technologies. These grants will support 123 projects in 39 states, with recipients including private industry, academic institutions, tribal entities, local governments and DOE’s National Laboratories. The grants will be matched more than one-for-one, with an additional $353 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds.

These grants are directed toward identifying and developing new geothermal fields, and reducing the upfront risk associated with geothermal development through innovative exploration and drilling projects, and data development and collection. In addition, the grants will support the deployment and creative financing approaches for ground source heat pump demonstration projects across the country.

Collectively, these projects will represent a dramatic expansion of the U.S. geothermal industry, and it is thought that they will create or save thousands of jobs in drilling, exploration, construction and operation of geothermal power facilities, and manufacturing of ground source heat pump equipment. The projects selected for negotiation of awards fall into six categories:

Innovative Exploration and Drilling Projects: Twenty-four projects have been selected that focus on the development of new geothermal fields, using innovative sensing, exploration and well-drilling technologies.

Coproduced, Geopressured and Low-temperature Projects: Eleven projects have been selected for the development of new low-temperature geothermal fields, a vast but currently untapped set of geothermal resources. This includes geothermal heat found in the hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells around the United States, where up to 10 barrels of hot water are produced for every barrel of oil.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Demonstrations:Three projects have been selected for the exploration, drilling and development of enhanced geothermal systems to validate power production from deep hot rock resources using innovative technologies and approaches.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Components Research and Development/Analysis: Forty-five projects have been selected to focus on research and development of new technologies to find and drill into deep hot rock formations, stimulate enhanced geothermal reservoirs, and convert the heat to power.

Geothermal Data Development, Collection and Maintenance: Three projects have been selected for the population of comprehensive nationwide geothermal resource database to help identify and assess new fields.

Ground Source Heat Pump Demonstrations:Thirty-seven projects have been selected to demonstrate the deployment of ground source heat pumps for heating and cooling of a variety of buildings for a variety of customer types, including academic institutions, local governments and commercial buildings.