DOE invests in new geothermal energy projects

August 12, 2014 0 By Tami Hood

Federal agency adds $18 million worth of new geothermal projects to its portfolio

The U.S. Department of Energy has added new geothermal energy projects to its portfolio. Some $18 million worth of geothermal projects are now being supported by the federal agency. The agency has invested funds into 32 new projects. This may be a sign that the federal government is beginning to show more support for geothermal power, which has seen relatively little government support when compared to other forms of renewable energy.

Geothermal has received little attention in the past

Wind and solar power are typically the most heavily supported forms of clean power in the U.S. The federal government has in place an “all of the above” energy plan, however. According to this plan, the government is support all forms of energy, including fossil-fuels. Such an expansive approach on energy means that support for certain forms of clean power are less than that being received by more popular forms of power. Geothermal energy is one of the forms of power that has received only modest support because of the country’s energy plan.

Projects seek to reduce the cost of geothermal power

Department of Energy invests in geothermal energyMany of the new projects being supported by the Department of Energy are meant to address the issue of cost. Electricity produced by geothermal power plants is somewhat more expensive than the energy produced through conventional methods. By 2020, many of these new projects aim to bring the cost of geothermal power down to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Other projects will be focused on finding the best geothermal resources available, surveying land throughout the U.S. There is interest in the Appalachia region, where coal-producing communities are beginning to fall on hard economic times. New geothermal projects could spark renewed economic activity within these communities.

DOE is beginning to invest in various forms of clean energy more aggressively

Geothermal power is sometimes overlooked in favor of more attractive forms of renewable energy, such as solar power. Geothermal power does, however, have the potential to help the U.S. meet a sizeable portion of its energy needs. It is unlikely that any single form of clean energy will emerge as the sole option for the country, so investing in various forms of clean power has become a common practice for the Department of Energy.