Boston­Bred Geothermal Innovator, Foro Energy, Wins Biggest ARPA­E Energy Grant


The Obama administration is putting its green-power agenda back on center stage Tuesday as a Senate committee begins debating a bill to curb the greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

President Barack Obama is in Florida, where he is expected Tuesday to highlight the $3.4 billion in economic-stimulus funding devoted to modernizing the power grid so it can better handle wind turbines, solar power and other forms of renewable electricity generation. Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to be in Wilmington, Del., to herald a deal to retool a shuttered General Motors factory to produce plug-in hybrid cars.

Mr. Obama is expected to discuss his administration's smart-grid plan at the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Fla. A White House official said the government's investment in the grid would be matched by as much as $5 billion in private funds.

On Monday, the Obama administration announced $151 million in grants for next-generation energy research projects that Energy Secretary Steven Chu said could be vital to U.S. efforts to combat climate change. The biggest grant -almost $9.2 million -was awarded to Foro Energy Inc. for the development of new geothermal drilling technology. The next biggest, at $9 million, went to DuPont Co. for the production of a biofuel derived from seaweed.

The White House's focus on clean-energy projects and the jobs that could be created by them comes as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee starts debating the specifics of a proposal by Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) to cap greenhouse-gas emissions and allocate pollution credits to various industries under a system that allows companies to buy and sell such credits.

The administration is sending the secretaries of the Energy, Interior and Transportation departments as well as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff to testify in support of incentives to develop clean-energy systems. The bill aims to cut emissions by 20% below
2005 levels by 2020, and by about 83% by 2050.

Write to Henry J. Pulizzi at