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Sustainable Energy Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 16, 2006
12:11 PM

CONTACT: Sustainable Energy Network
Ken Bossong 301-588-4741; kbossong@hotmail.com

 
60+ Groups, Businesses Urge US Senate to Restore Geothermal Energy Funding
 

WASHINGTON - June 16 - In a letter delivered today to the Members of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Appropriations, more than sixty businesses, environmental, consumer, and energy policy organizations called for the restoration of funding for the federal geothermal energy research and development program. Also signing the letter were four dozen individuals, including many active in geothermal energy projects.

Specifically, the letter urged the Senate to restore funding for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) geothermal research and development program to at least the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY'06) level of $23 million and to consider an even higher level of support. The White House has proposed to zero-out funding for geothermal development for FY'07 while the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a funding level of only $5 million.

The authors of the letter noted that a study recently prepared for the Western Governors Association conservatively projects the near-term development potential of geothermal energy at 13,000 megawatts of capacity. That is the equivalent of about 15 nuclear power plants or 30 coal-fired plants. Further analyses done by the Geothermal Energy Association suggest that the potential may actually be two or more times greater.

Moreover, geothermal energy's contribution to the nation's electricity supply increased by 2.6 percent last year according to the latest analyses done by the Energy Information Administration. At the same time, non-electric applications of geothermal technology have increased dramatically among businesses, schools, and homes. Investing in DOE's Geothermal Research and Development Program will certainly spur even more development compared to last year's increases.

"Given the significant potential of geothermal energy to meet the nation??s energy needs coupled with the importance of reducing energy imports, energy prices, and greenhouse gas emissions ... and the fact that carefully-sited geothermal facilities can produce cost-effective power that is significantly cleaner than fossil fuel and nuclear options ... the proposed cuts in geothermal funds are both illogical and unacceptable," the letter's signers wrote. "In fact, there is a good case for significant increases in funding for not only geothermal, but the full cross-section of federal renewable energy and energy efficient technology R&D programs."

The full text of the letter and list of signers follows.

The Sustainable Energy Network is a network of several hundred organizations, businesses, and citizen activists advocating rapid development of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies as preferable alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

RESTORE FUNDING FOR THE FEDERAL GEOTHERMAL ENERGY PROGRAM!

June 16, 2006

To: Members, Senate Committee on Appropriations

Attn: Staff Members Working on Appropriations and/or Energy

Dear Senator:

We, the undersigned businesses, organizations, and individuals, are writing to urge that you restore funding for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) geothermal research and development program to at least the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY'06) level of $23 million and to consider an even higher level of support.

As you know the Administration has proposed to zero-out funding for geothermal development for FY'07 while the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a funding level of only $5 million.

Given the significant potential of geothermal energy to meet the nation??s energy needs coupled with the importance of reducing energy imports, energy prices, and greenhouse gas emissions, the proposed cuts in geothermal funds are both illogical and unacceptable.

A study recently prepared for the Western Governors Association conservatively projects the near-term development potential of geothermal energy at 13,000 megawatts of capacity. That is the equivalent of about 15 nuclear power plants or 30 coal-fired plants. Further analyses done by the Geothermal Energy Association suggest that the potential may actually be two or more times greater.

Moreover, geothermal energy's contribution to the nation's electricity supply increased by 2.6 percent last year according to the latest analyses done by the Energy Information Administration. At the same time, non-electric applications of geothermal technology have increased dramatically among businesses, schools, and homes. Investing in DOE's Geothermal Research and Development Program will certainly spur even more development compared to last year's increases.

Given this potential and the fact that carefully-sited geothermal facilities can produce cost-effective power that is significantly cleaner than fossil fuel and nuclear options, it makes no sense to reduce funding for this technology. In fact, there is a good case for significant increases in funding for not only geothermal, but the full cross-section of federal renewable energy and energy efficient technology R&D programs.

We therefore urge you to reject the Administration's proposal to zero-out the federal geothermal energy R&D program and instead support restoration of funding to no less than FY'06 levels.

We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you.

###

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