Awards Archive

Here you'll find information about the geothermal technology research and development projects funded and grants that have been awarded prior to 2008 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The archives are listed below.

DOE also has Open Solicitations.

Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definitions (GRED-III)

The following companies will receive financial assistance from DOE under its Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definitions (GRED-III) program:

  • ORMAT Nevada, Inc
  • Earth Power Resources, Inc.
  • Esmeralda Energy Company
  • Noramex Corporation
  • AMP Resources
  • New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
  • Fort Bidwell Indian Community
  • Western Geothermal Partners
  • NGP Power Corporation
  • Arizona Public Service
  • Chena Hot Springs Resort, LLC

The GRED III program will ultimately lead to more electrical generation and direct-use applications from geothermal resources.

DOE requested approximately $2 million in FY 2004 for this program.

Geothermal State Energy Program Awardees

A major problem that hinders geothermal development is that most state and local officials, utility managers, and others are unfamiliar with geothermal energy. They have little experience with geothermal development and have not considered the benefits in providing local jobs for resource development, construction and operation of facilities. To this end, communication and outreach grants awards have recently been announced to the following states:

  • Alaska - Alaska Energy Authority
  • Arizona
  • California - California Energy Commission
  • Colorado - Governor's Office of Energy Management & Conservation
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico - Energy Minerals and Natural Resources
  • Oregon - Oregon Department of Energy
  • Texas - Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
  • Utah
  • Washington - Washington Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development
  • Wyoming

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Grant Recipients

The EGS program just selected the following research projects for funding under Enhanced (Engineered) Geothermal Systems Research and Development Grant (solicitation No. DE-PS36-04GO94001):

Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Adobe Reader.

Applicant Name Budget Information
Click on the PDF Link to view project summaries. Cost Share Applicant DOE Total
Duke (Malin) (PDF 95 KB) 36% $96,446 $170,384 $266,830
Pennsylvania State University (Elsworth) (PDF 117 KB) 21% $125,358 $476,195 $601,553
SAIC (Pritchett) (PDF 115 KB) 25% $150,000 $458,732 $608,732
University of Utah (Hulen) (PDF 142 KB) 34% $250,000 $495,742 $745,742
University of North Carolina (Rial) (PDF 97 KB) 22% $134,828 $487,302 $622,130
University of Utah (Moore) (PDF 107 KB) 27% $185,000 $500,000 $685,000
University of Utah (Moore) (PDF 95 KB) 31% $214,999 $475,599 $690,598
University of California, San Diego (Möller-Weare) (PDF 117 KB) 20% $124,804 $498,646 $623,450
Pinnacle Technologies (Weijers) (PDF 106 KB) 25% $96,109 $288,326 $384,435
University of Utah (Wannamaker) (PDF 94 KB) 34% $254,364 $499,328 $753,692
University of Utah (Hulen) (PDF 122 KB) 29% $201,422 $499,402 $700,824
University of Utah (Rose) (PDF 95 KB) 20% $124,979 $499,986 $624,965

Geothermal Resource Exploration And Definition II Program

The Department of Energy has selected seven additional geothermal exploration projects to find, test and define previously unutilized geothermal resources under the Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definition II (GRED II) program. This program is a follow-on to the successful initial GRED program that sponsored seven projects in four states (California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah), resulted in the drilling of seven test wells, and contributed to the addition of significant new resources. The seven new GRED II projects will directly contribute towards the goals and objectives of the DOE Geothermal Program by offering a wide geographic and geologic diversity that will promote the development of this resource in new areas and ultimately increase the amount of geothermal energy available for electric power generation. DOE is planning to provide $3.5 million over the first two years, with additional funding in later years, to GRED II projects in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The GRED II cooperative agreements consist of up to three phases that include (1) Phase I: Resource Evaluation to discover a resource and select a drilling site, (2) Phase II: Drilling and Characterization to access the resource by drilling a test well, and (3) Phase III: Testing and Assessment to evaluate the capacity of the reservoir to produce geothermal energy. Projects were allowed to enter at any phase if prior phase results were already available.

Advanced Thermal Systems, Inc. will perform geophysical testing to site a well and then drill and test the resource at Fly Ranch Hot Springs in Nevada. A seismic reflection survey will be used to define the subsurface stratigraphy of the thermal system in this part of the Hualapai Flat area and locate faults and fractures at depth. The resource potential will be confirmed by slim-hole drilling to a depth of 1500-2500 ft and subsequent testing of the target.

AmeriCulture Inc. will complete a test well at Lightning Dock in the Animas Valley of New Mexico. The location of this well was targeted under previous EGS funding, resulting in a well drilled to 910 ft to test a shallow resource. Under GRED II funding, this same well will be continuously cored to 1500-2100 ft to test a deeper resource in a fractured limestone hydrothermal reservoir. Drilling will be followed by well testing and reservoir assessment.

Calpine Corporation will site and drill a test well at Arnica Sink near Medicine Lake in California. Arnica Sink, which is just west of Glass Mountain, had been tested in 1984 with a deep well that was plugged back to 4,650 ft by a previous owner. In this project, the well will be re-entered, sidetracked, and drilled to a depth of 9,000 ft. Flow testing would follow to assess the reservoir.

Layman Energy Associates, Inc. will apply geophysical methods to optimize well siting and then drill and test the resource at Truckhaven in the Imperial Valley of California. This project, located on the western edge of the Salton trough, will use an extensive program of gravity, MT and EM geophysics to site well locations. Slim-hole drilling to a depth of approximately 3,000 ft will be used to confirm the resource.

Noramex Corporation will drill a second exploration and test well at its Blue Mountain site in Nevada. The first well was drilled under a GRED project in 2002 and tested a major fault from the valley side. Based on those results, it appears that the optimum target is on the Blue Mountain side of the fault along a second set of young faults at a depth of about 3,000 ft. A slim-hole, continuously cored well will confirm the resource.

Northern Arizona University will explore the San Francisco Volcanic field in Northern Arizona for prospective geothermal sites. They will use new geologic mapping, Argon age dating, and re-evaluation of existing geophysical data (seismic, gravity, magnetics) to define the potential for a significant geothermal resource in this region. These studies should lead to the identification of a high-priority drilling target.

U. S. Geothermal, Inc. will test and evaluate a geothermal resource at Raft River, Idaho, that has been drilled into, but has never achieved commercial production. The project consists of a series of well inspections and tests to confirm the production potential of the existing wells on the site. Based on these results, the generating potential of the site will be assessed, operational constraints will be identified, and the design of a power plant will be started if well conditions warrant.

Contacts: Norm Warpinski, Sandia National Laboratories (505) 844-3640, or Dan Sanchez, DOE Albuquerque Operations Office (505) 845-4417.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Project Development - Phase Three

In Phase One of this solicitation, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho Operations Office (ID) sought applications for projects to verify the electrical power generating potential of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). Concept definition studies occurred in Phase One. Phase Two is field-validation of the concepts. Five awardees of Phase One activities were selected for continuation of their projects. For Phase Three, the University of Utah's Energy and Geoscience Institute (EGI) and Caithness Energy, LLC, of New York, N.Y., have been selected to move forward with their project and develop and demonstrate an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) at the Coso geothermal field in California. DOE will provide $4.5 million over the next five years to support the $12 million effort.

The new system is expected to add about 15 megawatts of electrical capacity — enough to power 11,250 homes — to the 270 megawatts now being generated at the site. This cooperative agreement will develop and demonstrate new EGS techniques to engineer and improve the productivity of the Coso geothermal field, located about 25 miles north of Ridgecrest, Calif., on the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. UU-EGI and Caithness will pump water under high pressure into a portion of the Coso field to fracture subsurface rocks and create channels for hot water to move from the geothermal reservoir to existing geothermal wells. The process, called "hydrofracing," is commonly used in oil and gas production.

Enhanced Geothermal Systems Project Development - Phase Two

PROJECT TITLE: Creation of an Enhanced Geothermal System through Hydraulic and Thermal Stimulation
COMPANY: The Energy & Geoscience Institute, University of Utah
SUMMARY: EGI proposes to create and test an EGS, with both injection and production wells, on the perimeter of the Coso geothermal field. Investigators will collect and evaluate geochemical, geophysical, geomechanical, petrophysical and borehole-image data to first select and then hydraulically stimulate an injection well. Concurrently, models will be developed to predict the response of the selected well to the stimulation. These models will be revised during the project as information is generated on the well and its response to the stimulation and testing. A production well will be designed, drilled, and, if necessary, hydraulically stimulated. A circulation test will be conducted, which will incorporate tracer testing to characterize the flow processes between the coupled wells. Coso Operating Company, the field operator, will provide EGI the wells and infrastructure for field experiments, and will design the hydraulic stimulation tests. Other participants include Geomechanics International, the Navy's Geothermal Program Office, the USGS, Kansas State University, Halliburton, and Pinnacle Technologies.
PROJECT TITLE: Creation of an Enhanced Geothermal System beneath The Geysers Steamfield, California
COMPANY: DOSECC, Inc. at and Calpine Corporation
SUMMARY: This project proposes to develop the technology required to extract energy from the reduced permeability zones that underlie all the high temperature geothermal systems. This methodology will be implemented and tested at The Geysers geothermal field in California. It is proposed that existing wells at this location will be deepened and drilled into the High Temperature Zone. Water will be injected into fractures having poor connectivity to the overlying reservoir (from which steam is currently being produced). The injection of this cold water will cause propagation of the existing fractures due to the thermal contraction. These fractures will connect with the overlying Normal Temperature Reservoir, and injected fluid will increase steam flow from existing production wells, while mitigating problems related to high gas and chloride.
PROJECT TITLE: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Development for the AmeriCulture Leasehold in the Animas Valley
COMPANY: AmeriCulture Inc.
SUMMARY: The AmeriCulture project is directed towards the enhancement of both the flow rate and temperature of the hydrothermal fluids produced from the Lightning Dock KGRA in the Animas Valley of New Mexico. It is proposed that the deeper part of the reservoir be accessed and its productivity improved by the application of EGS technologies. The hotter fluid produced would then be used for both commercial electricity generation and heating for the planned expansion of existing aquaculture facilities. AmeriCulture proposes to drill and stimulate both injection and production wells. Acidization will be used to supplement the hydraulic fracturing. The project proposes to use a low- pressure, flash-steam plant.
PROJECT TITLE: Horizontal wells to enhance production in the Bottle Rock Field - Phase II Proposal
COMPANY: Maurer Engineering Inc. and ThermaSource Inc.
SUMMARY: The proposed EGS project is an integral part of ThermaSource's project whose goal is to bring 35 MW of new electrical generation on line by reopening the Bottle Rock Power facility located at The Geysers in Northern California. The proposed work will incorporate a horizontal drilling program intended to increase steam production from the existing resource by more effectively intersecting existing fractures in the reservoir. The three proposed horizontal wells (two sidetracks in an existing well, and one new well) will provide the additional steam to increase power production at the Bottle Rock power plant from 20 MW to 35 MW. The proposed work will utilize a new geothermal geared turbodrill to directional drill in the high-temperature formations. High-temperature measurement-while-drilling systems will be used with the turbodrill so that the direction of the well can be detected and controlled.
PROJECT TITLE: Development of a Plan to Implement Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) in the Animas Valley, New Mexico
COMPANY: Lightning Dock Geothermal, Inc. and Ormat International, Inc.
SUMMARY: The proposed project will utilize both the EGS and hydrothermal reservoirs at the Lightning Dock Geothermal Resource in New Mexico to provide the geothermal fluid to operate a commercial binary power plant with an electrical generating capacity of 6 MW net. In this project the deeper EGS resource will be fractured and pressurized with fluids injected from the surface facilities. The fluid from the EGS production well will be used to supplement the fluid produced from the shallow hydrothermal resource for the generation of power.

Near-Term Geothermal Drilling Technology Development

Contracts were issued to Two-Phase Engineering and Research, Inc. and to APS Technology. Two-Phase Engineering and Research will modify the LEAMS unit to achieve noise reduction and to improve its performance in the areas of condensation, corrosion, and hydrogen sulfide abatement. APS Technology will build and test a turbine alternator, which will be suitable for use in geothermal drilling. Power from the alternator will run a thermoelectric cooling system to cool critical electrical components of a geothermal MWD system. Contact: Allan R Sattler, Sandia National Laboratories, 505-844-1019.

State Energy Program Geothermal Awards

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham recently announced cost-shared awards totaling $234,686 to Nevada, Utah, and Idaho for geothermal resource investigations under the Department of Energy's State Energy Program. The state energy offices will use the funds to identify potential areas for geothermal power development and direct use projects.

These competitive awards provide specialized funding in addition to annual "formula" grants to each state energy office. They are part of a large grant program covering renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in 48 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. "These projects will help to conserve energy, provide jobs, increase our national energy security, and reduce the need for new electricity generating plants," said Secretary Abraham. "These projects emphasize the Administration's reliance on the important role states play in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies, and many of these projects help support the National Energy Policy."

Projects included in the three awards are as follows:

  • The Nevada State Energy Office, in partnership with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the Nevada Division of Minerals, will receive a $99,686 grant to produce a fully relational, on-line database of Nevada geothermal resource information. The state's cost-share will be $92,671. The proposed database will provide detailed, state-wide information to prospective project developers to facilitate decision-making. Areas will be analyzed according to water chemistry and temperature, gradient drill hole data, production well data, cuttings and log availability, leasing and permitting information, geographic data, and geologic data. Areas will be ranked for possible development, and will be divided into two categories: high-temperature resources (primarily for power generation), and low- to moderate-temperature resources for direct use applications. Contact Dave McNeil at the Nevada State Energy Office at (775) 687-4909.

  • The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) will receive $60,000 to enhance its current effort to summarize geothermal information using geographic information system technology to replace the outdated map published in 1980. The state's cost-share will be $15,000, to be contributed by the Utah Geological Survey, the Office of Energy and Resource Planning, and the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands. The effort will promote development of Utah's significant geothermal resources by including in its database a detailed resource review and economic analysis for specific geothermal areas. Enhancements will include reviews of existing published information plus unpublished data for the state's high- and moderate-temperature geothermal areas in the Sevier, Black Rock, and Escalante Deserts of southwestern Utah, in addition to other promising areas. The UGS will then build an economic evaluation model to assess the development potential of the higher-quality sites, modeling them with respect to capital and operating costs for various types of geothermal power plants, and then will rank them based on the quality of the resource and the economic likelihood of future development. Contact Robert Blackett at the Utah Geological Survey at (435) 865-8139.

  • The Idaho Department of Water Resources and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute will receive a $75,000 grant, to be matched by $20,720 of state funds. The two agencies will collaborate to update Idaho's geothermal water resources inventory, evaluate areas in Idaho that have potential for geothermal power generation, and assess prospective district heating and other direct use developments.

Tasks to be performed under the grant include migrating the current geothermal water resources database into Microsoft Access and update the database, generating electronic plot files to be used for producing maps on demand, providing Internet access to Idaho's geothermal water resources, assessing the potential for power generation using geothermal resources, evaluating the potential for new district heating and other direct use projects, and ranking potential power generation and district heating projects. Contact Gerry D. Galinato at the Idaho Department of Water Resources at (208) 327-7963.

Project Area Private-Sector Partners Project Location FY 2000 DOE Funding Total DOE Funding Private Funding
Small-Scale Geothermal Electric
Power Plants
Empire Energy LLC, Empire, NV Empire, NV $150,000 prior year money $1,600,000/
4 years
Energy, Inc, Hayward, CA Cotton City, NM $150,000 prior year money $1,700,000/
4 years
Nilgro Newcastle, Inc., Los Alamos, NM Newcastle, UT $150,000 prior year money $1,100,000/
4 years
ORMAT International, Inc., Sparks, NV Lordsburg, NM $150,000 prior year money $1,596,000/
4 years
Vulcan Power Company, Bend, OR Radium Springs, NM $150,000 prior year money $500,000/
4 years

Project Area Private-Sector Partners Project Location FY 2000 DOE Funding Total DOE Funding Private Funding
Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology Americulture, Inc., Los Alamos, NM Animas Valley, NM $177,000 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
Drilling, Observation and Sampling of Earth's Continental Crust, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT The Geysers, Santa Rosa, CA $199,917 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
Maurer Engineering, Inc., Houston, TX The Geysers, Santa Rosa, CA $194,554 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
Northern California Power Agency, Middleton, CA The Geysers, Santa Rosa, CA $174,584 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
ORMAT International, Inc., Sparks, NV Animas Valley, NM $200,000 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
Power Engineers, Inc. Hailey, ID Roosevelt Hot Springs, UT $191,615 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
Steamboat Envirosystems, LLC, West Palm Beach, FL Reno, NV $199,805 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
ThermaSource, Inc., and RES Company, Santa Rosa, CA The Geysers, Santa Rosa, CA $198,630 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT The Geysers, Santa Rosa, CA $199,973 Funding being awarded through evaluation*  
*Nine contracts are being evaluated to develop conceptual design for Enhanced Geothermal Systems Technology power plants. Two of the projects will be selected for full final design and installation testing at a cost of approximately $10 million for each project.

Project Area Private-Sector Partners Project Location FY 2000 DOE Funding Total DOE Funding Private Funding
Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definition Calpine Siskiyou Geothermal Partners Limited Partnership, Middletown, CA Glass Mountain, CA $202,371 $1,102,371/
3 years
Coso Operating Company of Caithness Resources, Inc., Ridgecreat, CA U-boat, NV $300,000 $1,875,000/
3 years
Mount Wheeler Power Company, Ely, NV Rye Patch, NV $20,000 $1,620,000/
3 years
Noramax Corporation, Carson City, NV Blue Mountain, NV $21,600 $656,736/
3 years
ORMAT International, Inc., Sparks, NV, and Lightning Dock Geothermal, Inc., Las Cruces, NM Animas Valley, NM $245,000 $913,000/
3 years
SB Geo, Inc.,
Reno, NV
Steamboat Springs, NV $14,792 $269,792/
3 years
Utah Municipal Power Agency, Spanish Forks, UT Cover Fort - Sulphurdale, UT $23,057 $366,057/
3 years