The University of Nevada, Reno received funding to begin drilling geothermal test wells this fall in the final phase of a multi-year research project to refine exploration strategies and reduce the risks in developing new geothermal systems capable of producing commercial electricity in Nevada's Great Basin.
In July, the Department of Energy announced funding for the continuation of the Nevada Play Fairway Project, which seeks to find geographic areas over which the most favorable combinations of heat, permeability and fluid are thought to exist, but no obvious surface signs would indicate an underground geothermal reservoir. These are known as "blind" or "hidden" geothermal systems and are thought to represent the bulk of the region's geothermal resources. These blind systems don't have wet marshy areas or other surface clues, such as hot springs or fumaroles spouting steam.
Phase III moves the project into an exploratory drilling campaign that will test the ability of the models developed in Phase I and II to discover new resources. The University, through their Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, received $1.5 million from the DOE to finish the third and final phase of the renewable energy project.
"We're excited to be chosen to continue this work," Jim Faulds, lead scientist on the project and director of the University's Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, said. "We are striving to improve exploration strategies for conventional geothermal systems in order to facilitate development of new geothermal power plants at reduced risks and costs to the geothermal industry."
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