“We’ve turned the corner … the potential growth curve for geothermal is extremely exciting,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, United States Department of Energy, Douglas Hollett. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released its annual report, “2014 Annual Report Geothermal Technologies Office,” and highlights 35 project successes in program areas including EGS, Hydrothermal, Low-Temperature, and Systems Analysis.
The report notes that DOE’s geothermal flagship project over the next five years in its FORGE initiative that Director Doug Hollett says is “the first dedicated field site of its kind for testing targeted enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) R&D. The intent is to use this collaborative site for transformative science that will create a commercial pathway for large-scale, economically viable EGS.”
As the report explains, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) are engineered reservoirs, created beneath the Earth’s surface where there is hot rock but limited pathways through which fluid can flow. During EGS development, underground fluid pathways are safely created and/or their size and connectivity increased. These enhanced pathways allow fluid to circulate throughout the hot rock and carry heat to the surface to generate electricity.
The FORGE initiative was announced in July 2014 and is a $31 million funded program that will develop and support a geothermal field observatory, the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), dedicated to researching pertinent questions that will move geothermal technology and and opportunities forward.
The FORGE site, explains the report, “will enable cutting-edge research, drilling, and technology testing, allowing collaborating scientists to identify a replicable, commercial pathway to EGS. It is hoped the field site will yield breakthrough tools and technologies for to improve future geothermal energy production.”