The California Legislature established the program in 1980 under Public Resources Code sections 3800 et seq.

The California’s Energy Commission (Energy Commission)’s Geothermal Grant and Loan Program funds the development of geothermal resources with money from the state’s Geothermal Resources Development Account (GRDA). GRDA receives funds collected by the federal government from royalty and lease payments by geothermal developers operating on federal land in California. Thirty percent of the account funds are available to the Energy Commission’s Geothermal Grant and Loan Program to promote and maintain development of California's vast geothermal energy and related activities. The Geothermal Grant and Loan Program also focuses on mitigating any adverse impacts caused by geothermal development and related activities and helping local jurisdictions and private entities offset the costs of providing public services necessitated by geothermal development.

The Energy Commission makes program awards through competitive solicitations. Eligible entities, including private entities and local jurisdictions, can qualify for financial assistance for a wide variety of geothermal-related projects, including geothermal technology research demonstrations; resource assessment, exploration, and development; local and regional planning; and impact mitigation projects.

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