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NREL Releases Report on Policy Options to Advance Geothermal Exploration

Cover of the Geothermal Exploration Policy Mechanisms: Lessons for the United States from International Applications report

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a report entitled "Geothermal Exploration Policy Mechanisms: Lessons for the United States from International Applications" (Bethany Speer, Ryan Economy, Travis Lowder, Paul Schwabe, and Scott Regenthal, NREL/TP-6A20-61477, May 2014).

The report, funded by the DOE EERE’s Geothermal Technologies Office, analyzes policy mechanisms designed to encourage exploration for geothermal resources employed both in the U.S. and internationally, and assesses their potential applicability to the U.S. geothermal market.

The study focuses on five of the policy types that are most relevant and applicable to the U.S. market and political context for the exploration and confirmation of conventional hydrothermal (geothermal) resources in the United States: (1) drilling failure insurance, (2) loan guarantees, (3) subsidized loans, (4) capital subsidies, and (5) government-led exploration. It describes each policy type and its application in other countries and regions. It offers policymakers a guide for drafting future geothermal support mechanisms for the exploration-drilling phase of geothermal development.

A full copy of the report is available for download at http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/61477.pdf.


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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aims to provide credible, objective data and insights that inform policy and investment decisions as energy efficient and renewable energy technologies advance from concept to commercial application. NREL analysis encompasses a broad range of scientific research and reporting activity in support of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), NREL programs and initiatives, and the analysis community.