Davenport Newberry, a company that focuses on the management and development of geothermal opportunities, and AltaRock Energy, a renewable power development firm that focuses on the R&D of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), have announced plans to jointly demonstrate the EGS technology under the Geothermal Technology Program of the U.S. Department of Energy at a facility situated close to Bend, Oregon.
In order to advance the potential and promise of geothermal energy in the U.S., this project intends to establish geothermal reservoirs and harness heat energy from high temperature locations of the earth that can be accessed by traditional drilling methods.
The demonstration will happen on a current Federal lease situated just before the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, near Bend. Leases situated outside the boundary of the monument were allocated for geothermal usage by a committee, comprising representatives of the government, environmental groups, community and the geothermal sector among others.
Recently, the project received $21.45 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy as per the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant. Moreover, the AltaRock-Davenport partnership invested $22.36 million into this project. The project will gain from the research initiatives of students and faculty at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Temple University, Texas A&M, University of Utah, the University of Oregon as well as scientists belonging to the U.S. Geological Survey.
However, the project awaits the issuance of applicable permits form the U.S. Department of Energy, Oregon state officials, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, who will conduct review on the project plans.
A study conducted in 2007, headed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology forecasted that with appropriate improvements and investments on current technology, the EGS can provide around 10% of the electricity needs of the U.S. in 50 years time at rates competitive with non-renewable fuel production.