The U.S. Department of Energy dedicated $338 million in Recovery Act funds for new geothermal projects last year, and now the agency has added another $20 million to the pot. This week, DOE announced that the new funds will go to seven cutting edge geothermal technologies that create new green jobs in addition to reducing the demand for fossil fuels.
Geothermal in the U.S.A.
The new funding is a giant step forward for the U.S. We have some of the world’s richest geothermal resources and yet until now they have gone largely untapped, even as the urgency for alternative fuels gained steam. The Clinton administration concluded with the first comprehensive climate change report mandated by Congress, but it languished for another eight years as the Bush administration continued to focus attention on fossil fuels. In 2008 the cat was out of the bag, as the U.S. Geological Survey issued a nationwide assessment of geothermal resources identifying the potential for more than half a million megawatts.
New Cutting Edge Geothermal Technologies and New Green Jobs
The new $20 million in funding will go to a group of projects that tap a wide variety of geothermal resources, from large scale to micro-mini. For example, one project is to reclaim energy from the drilling brine from oil and gas fields, which currently is discharged as wastewater. Another project combines geothermal resources with a greenhouse and aquaculture operation designed for siting in small towns, and another focuses on portable mini-generators that can be hauled to remote locations. That all translates into new green jobs that will be created in a variety of settings, including small towns and remote areas that have been withering for lack of new career opportunities.
Geothermal Energy, the U.S. Military and Your Local IKEA
As part of the Recovery Act, the federal funds that havebeen pumped into geothermal are creating new green jobs across the country. This could result in some interesting turnarounds in the way our energy is supplied. The EPA has been reclaiming brownfields for alternative energy, and the U.S. military has been investing heavily in geothermal. Some of its facilities could go completely off-grid with plenty left over for civilian use. Meanwhile, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has been teaming up with retail powerhouse IKEA to spread the word about marrying geothermal energy with new big-box stores.
Image: Geyser by Ken Lund on flickr.com.
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.