Bush administration cutting funding for geothermal energy.

President Bush keeps harping on how we need to develop alternative energy sources so we can stop being dependent on oil from hostile foreign countries, but if that’s true then why is his administration trying to eliminate funds for geothermal research?

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Bush administration wants to eliminate federal support for geothermal power just as many U.S. states are looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions and raise renewable power output.

The move has angered scientists who say there is enough hot water underground to meet all U.S. electricity needs without greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Department of Energy has not requested funds for geothermal research in our fiscal-year 2008 budget,” said Christina Kielich, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy. “Geothermal is a mature technology. Our focus is on breakthrough energy research and development.”

Wait a minute, what? It’s a mature technology so they don’t want to fund it? Then what about this bullshit here:

The administration of George W. Bush has made renewable energy a priority as it seeks to wean the United States off foreign oil, but it emphasizes use of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel for vehicles and nuclear research for electricity.

Last I checked both biodiesel and nuclear power were both mature technology as well. For that matter I believe use of both is more widespread than geothermal as well. So what’s this bullshit about it not needing anymore funding because it’s already mature?

Leland “Roy” Mink, who until last October was geothermal program director at the DOE, said he thinks the White House’s waning interest in geothermal is a mistake. He said he left the DOE when he saw the Department was cutting funding.

“It’s far from a mature technology,” said Mink, who is now working on a geothermal project in Idaho. “There’s a lot to do. For starters, we need to develop drill bits that last longer. It’s a hostile environment down there.”

Bush’s administration is once again paying lip service to the idea of being committed to developing alternative energy while not really doing much of anything to solve the problem.

9 thoughts on “Bush administration cutting funding for geothermal energy.

  1. From the days I was in high school debate (197-mutter-mutter), the year we did “scarce world resources” and energy was a hot topic, it was pretty much a given negative defense that ethanol was popular only as a sop to the corn-producing Midwest (hence Bob Dole’s fondness for it).  It’s not at all surprising that the Bush Admin’s emphasis for alternative energy is (a) something that will garner the farm vote (ethanol), or (b) pie-in-the-sky hi-tech bits (hydrogen).

  2. Mature technology my ass.  Popular science just had (within the last few issues) new and interesting (emphasis on new) plans for a different and innovative way to use geothermal at just about any location.

    I hate these people.  There aren’t even appropriate words to describe them.

  3. You know, I have to wonder, Bush’s admin cuts funding for geothermal, saying the tech is mature, the tech, almost ALL of the drilling tech is transplanted from the oil fields, utilization of geothermal resorces on any kind of large scale is less than 30 years old and we still only make a bit over two gigawatts, with the capacity for much much larger production, it is almost NON polluting (to the point that a 30 Mw plant emits less carbon and sulfer than the average car, so, as I was wondering, where is the media coverage, I still see crap about ANS, she is dead, she is burried, let it lie, as liberal as CNN is where is the outrage?

    Ken Clark
    Geothermal Logging Geologist
    (ps, no, im not a phd, but a lot of the drilling hands call me that)

  4. It is mature technology in that none of the administration’s buddies/contributors/puppeteers have a stake in it.  If Halliburton (for instance) wanted to develop geothermal, I’d bet our tax dollars would find there way to them.

  5. I would have expected them to jump at the idea of geothermal – less dependance on oil and I would have expected it to be easier+cheaper to set up than many of the other options. It’s also not got the same fear connection as the nuclear option, doesn’t contribute carbon, doesn’t churn up birds and fish or flood large areas – but it does remove energy from the finite yet large supply keeping earth warm from within (speeding on one form of inevitable appocalyse), but since that’s a loooooong term thing, it would seem an easy and most logical short term option – the only logical reason to favour fossil feuls (with it’s much more imminent appocalypse) would be that somebody benefits from it’s use, and that they want it to stay that way

  6. Ethanol and biodiesel ARE mature technologies, however, across the globe people are looking for different more economical ways to produce biodiesel(microorganisms)/used lipids)and ethanol(microorganisms)because the “mature” technolgies that are already in place are costly and the finished fuel grade products are not cheaper than gasoline per gal.  This is why ethanol and biodiesel research are still receiving money.  We haven’t worked the kinks out yet.

  7. Eowyn, it’s not that I have a problem with biodiesel receiving funding as I think it’s got its place in solving the alternative energy puzzle, but the lack of funding for geothermal is just appalling.

  8. The corn producers may have some sway on policy, but we already know our government is in the pocket of big oil. Who will sell ethanol and biodiesel? The oil companies. While that’s a great incentive for the oil companies to help with important research, unless the oil companies are going to be the ones selling geothermal energy, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pressured Washington to focus research away from geothermal.

  9. Last I checked both biodiesel and nuclear power were both mature technology as well. For that matter I believe use of both is more widespread than geothermal as well. So what’s this bullshit about it not needing anymore funding because it’s already mature?

    Three words: No quick profits.

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