WASHINGTON — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the awarding of $38 million over three years for projects to accelerate the development of promising geothermal energy technologies and help diversify America’s sources of clean, renewable energy.

Thirty-two innovative projects in 14 states will develop and test new ways to locate geothermal resources and improve resource characterization, drilling, and reservoir engineering techniques, which will enable geothermal energy sources to help reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. Funded through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, these advances will play an important role in achieving President Obama’s goal of generating 80 percent of U.S. electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

“The Department of Energy is investing in pioneering new technologies that will further develop the nation’s geothermal resources, create skilled jobs for American workers, and help diversify our energy portfolio,” said Chu. “The projects announced today will provide opportunities for clean energy innovations that will ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in geothermal energy development and expand the nation’s use of this important renewable energy resource.”

This significant investment in clean energy development is part of the department’s comprehensive effort to reduce the cost of geothermal energy, making it more competitive with conventional sources of baseload electricity. Projects will perform feasibility studies before advancing to prototyping and validation, which will be conducted through vigorous laboratory-based research and field testing. The selected projects will support the department’s goals of lowering the cost and financial risk associated with confirming and characterizing geothermal resources and will help to overcome key technical challenges to the reservoir creation and sustainability of enhanced geothermal systems.

For more information, go to www.1eere.energy.gov/geothermal/.

Publication date: 09/26/2011