Tester’s new geothermal energy bill gets Senate hearing

Bill would create jobs, put U.S. on a path to energy independence

(U.S. SENATE) – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today heard testimony regarding Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan bill to create jobs by better utilizing Montana’s geothermal energy resources.

Tester’s Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act of 2011 would improve geothermal heat pump technology, and direct the use of geothermally heated water in energy production.

It directs the Department of Energy to establish a revolving loan fund for energy developers to drill wells during the exploratory phase of geothermal energy projects. 

The bill also encourages leasing with production oil and gas wells along side of the geothermal wells.

Advances in geothermal technology have the potential to produce over half of the current U.S. electricity production.   Geothermal technology uses drilling equipment and practices similar to those of water and oil wells and can employ the same drillers.

Tester’s bill allows state and local governments, as well as private companies, to better support geothermal projects.  It also increases information on domestic geothermal resources and invests in research and development as well as commercialization.

“Montana needs to take advantage of every responsible energy opportunity across our state to create jobs and lead our nation toward energy independence,” Tester said.  “My bill makes it easier for the numerous groups already working in this field to tap into the resources below our feet.”

Tester’s Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act is available online HERE.