WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- Investing in geothermal energy projects in five U.S. states could help spur a sea change in the national energy sector, the U.S. energy secretary said.
The International Energy Agency said in a report last week that policy actions and better incentives could help increase the amount of geothermal energy in the global energy mix from around 0.25 percent currently to more than 3 percent by 2050.
The IEA recommends that governments introduce incentives that would encourage the commercial development of geothermal technologies and payments to third parties that introduce alternative energy to the current grid.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $11.3 million in funding was available for eight projects in California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas and Utah to support pioneering technologies in geothermal energy.
"By investing in geothermal research and development, we are investing in our nation's energy future and creating opportunities for energy innovation in the U.S.," Chu said in a statement.
The projects aim to find ways of developing electricity from geothermal heat. The funding effort is part of President Barack Obama's aim of generating 80 percent of U.S. electricity from clean energy resources by 2035.