While the Obama Administration has always supported alternative sources of energy, many of the projects that have been green lit during their time, such as the Cape Wind offshore farm, have faced controversy. However it has been announced that thanks to the administration’s stimulus bill, which aimed to diversify the country’s energy supplies, a record 7, 875 MW of geothermal projects have been funded, further breaking America’s dependency on fossil fuels.
Although renewable energy projects have seen increased investment under the Obama Administration, it has always been the more ‘popular’ technologies such as wind and solar power that received funding. Geothermal energy in comparison, has received little media attention and even less funding, receiving none during the Bush Administration.
However thanks to the US Recovery Act, geothermal projects have been able to qualify to receive a federal grant of 30% of investment costs from the stimulus bill, for a total of $363 million in funding for geothermal energy projects. It is expected that stimulus funding will go on to support similar projects next year.
This year, 31 geothermal projects broke ground in California and Nevada alone, while another fifteen states have projects beginning. DOE loans have even been issued to transform Nevada into the ‘Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy’. Smaller projects are starting in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. While many Southern states missed out on funds, Google recently discovered a massive 19 GW of potential geothermal in West Virginia.
Once these projects are all up and running, the additional 8GW of renewable energy is expected to have a major effect on America’s National Grid, delivering energy supplies at 3-5 cents a kilowatt hour (1.9 cents after tax incentives).
Via Clean Technica
Image © Flickr martin_vmorris