Geothermal Research Gets boost with DOE Grant

Joanna Schroeder

345G1GEO-proof1Now here is an energy resource that we don’t hear or talk enough about: geothermal. Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) projects produce electricity using heat extracted through engineered fluid flow paths in hot rock. Geothermal energy has the ability to produce electricity 24 hours a day. Electricity produced by wind has been criticized for its inability to produce electricity at all times.

The DOE, as part of Stimulus Bill (otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) has announced it will allocate funds up to $338 million to be used for the exploration and development of new geothermal sources and technologies. In addition, as reported by the Geothermal Digest, an additional $353 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds will match the grants more than one-for-one.

One of the first companies to receive word that they have received monies is AltaRock Energy, Inc. based in Sausalito, Cali. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the AltaRock Energy will receive $1.45 million to develop exploration methods for identifying EGS drilling targets more efficiently.

The project that has been given the green light for funding will take place in the Newberry Geothermal Resource Area in Oregon, and is being conducted in partnership with Davenport Power, who operates the site.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash) commented about the DOE grant, “AltaRock, founded in Seattle, is on the cutting edge of engineered geothermal energy and I’m extraordinarily pleased the Department of Energy is making a commitment. This exciting technology presents us with the opportunity to expand geothermal energy production beyond traditional areas and thus make it available to more consumers. Investment will allow new testing, research and expansion of the technology, which has the potential to become an inexpensive, self regenerating, and CO2 free source of energy. With the work of AltaRock and others, the Pacific Northwest will remain at the vanguard of clean energy development.”

Energy, Geothermal, News