U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Geothermal Technologies Office
Senate Energy Committee Passes New Geothermal Legislation
December 16, 2011
Energy Committee moved the ball forward for geothermal energy by passing two
important geothermal measures, S. 1142 and S. 1149, on December 15. "These
two measures will support exploration drilling, expand geothermal research into
heating uses, and expedite leasing and development," remarked GEA
Executive Director Karl Gawell.
1142, the Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act of 2011, is sponsored by
Senators Tester, Reid, Murkowski and Begich. It has three major provisions: 1)
it proposes a new federal loan program to promote exploratory geothermal
drilling, along with the mapping and development of the nation’s substantial
untapped geothermal potential; 2) it expands geothermal research into direct
use and heat pump technologies; and 3) it facilitates the use of geothermal
co-production by federal oil and gas leases.
the Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2011, is sponsored by Senators
Wyden, Begich, Merkley, Crapo and Risch. It would modify the federal
all-competitive leasing statue for geothermal to allow limited negotiated lease
sales in circumstances where new discoveries have been made.
the mark-up Senators Bingaman, Murkowski, Sanders and Mansion all spoke in
support of geothermal energy, particularly related to S. 1142. Senator Coats
expressed opposition to S. 1142 because it had no budget score and contained no
proposed offsets for potential future spending. Senator Shaheen replied that "while we needed to be cognizant of the budget deficit" that her "list
of priorities also included job creation."
S. 1149 passed on a voice vote, with no opposition noted, Senator Coats asked
for a roll call on S. 1142, which passed 13-8-1 with Senators voting as
follows: Voting Yes on S. 1142: Senators Bingaman, Wyden, Johnson, Landrieu,
Cantwell, Sanders, Stabenow, Udall, Shaheen, Franken, Manchin, Coons, and
Murkowski. Voting No on S. 1142: Senators Barrasso, Risch, Lee, Paul, Coats,
Portman, Hoeven, and Corker. Voting to Abstain on S. 1142: Senator Heller
Now both measures move to the Senate floor for full
consideration. "These measures will help the geothermal industry continue
to grow and support new jobs, the adoption of new technology, and expanded US
exports," Gawell said. "The geothermal industry applauds the Senate
Energy Committee for its work." For more details on either measure, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php..