Energy, Politics

One Redeeming Feature of Energy Bill

12.18.07 | Comment?

Last week I posted an entry excoriating Congress (the Senate in particular) for changes to the Energy Bill which among other things, ripped out production tax credits and renewable portfolio standards. But, credit where credit is due, there is a $95M line item for geothermal R&D which will be earmarked to do the following things:

  • Geopressured and oil and gas field co-produced resource production: Clean, renewable geothermal energy can be produced with existing natural gas and oil and gas fields. These uses could revolutionize both the geothermal and the fossil fuel industry.
  • Industry-coupled drilling: This program pairs the federal government with geothermal developers to reduce drilling risks and improve drilling precision. Exploration and drilling pose some of the most difficult risks for new geothermal projects and can add significantly to project costs.
  • Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS): The MIT and NREL reports suggest that 100,000 megawatts (MW) or more of geothermal power could
    be produced using advanced technology. A sustained research and development effort is needed to move towards this goal.
  • Center for geothermal technology transfer: Such a center, which currently does not exist, is critical to developers seeking information about geothermal prospects and technology advances.
  • International Geothermal Collaboration: DOE and US AID are directed to support international geothermal development, particularly related to the African Rift Geothermal Development Facility, Australia, China, France, the Republic of Iceland, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Karl Gawell from the Geothermal Energy Association has a nice write-up of the bill at the GEA website. So it’s not all bad news, but still, the PTC longterm extension and RPS omissions are glaring.

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