Geothermal Brief: Market and Policy Impacts Update

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Utility-scale geothermal electricity generation plants have generally taken advantage of various government initiatives designed to stimulate private investment. This report investigates these initiatives to evaluate their impact on the associated cost of energy and the development of geothermal electric generating capacity using conventional hydrothermal technologies. We use the Cost ofRenewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool (CREST) to analyze the effects of tax incentives on project economics. Incentives include the production tax credit, U.S. Department of Treasury cash grant, the investment tax credit, and accelerated depreciation schedules. The second half of the report discusses the impact of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program on geothermal electricproject deployment and possible reasons for a lack of guarantees for geothermal projects. For comparison, we examine the effectiveness of the 1970s DOE drilling support programs, including the original loan guarantee and industry-coupled cost share programs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-53288


  • cash grant
  • geothermal
  • hydrothermal
  • industry-coupled program
  • investment tax credit
  • ITC
  • loan guarantees
  • production tax credit
  • PTC


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