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Guidebook to geothermal power finance


This guidebook is intended to facilitate further investment in conventional geothermal projects in the United States.  Investment in conventional geothermal projects on the utility side of the meter has evolved dramatically since the economic downturn began in 2008. Developers and investors identified innovative approaches to address the capital constraints that permeate the market and to take advantage of new policy incentives that emerged. These innovations are especially important in the early stages of project development, when capital providers must be comfortable with the risk associated with resource identification and test well drilling. Innovations later in the project development process responded to changes in the way that projects took advantage of federal incentives including the Section 1603 Treasury Cash Grant Program that reduced the need for tax equity in 2009 – 2011 and possibly beyond.

This guidebook, from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) includes a brief primer on geothermal technology and the most relevant policies related to geothermal project development. The trends in geothermal project finance are the focus of this tool, relying heavily on interviews with leaders in the field of geothermal project finance. Using the information provided, developers and investors may innovate in new ways, developing partnerships that match investors’ risk tolerance with the capital requirements of geothermal projects in this dynamic and evolving marketplace.

View the publication here: Guidebook to geothermal power finance.