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Welcome to the Newberry EGS Demonstration blog.  Throughout the project, we’ll be using this digital real estate to report, inform, explain and educate all about Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) and, more specifically, the safe and innovative EGS project at Newberry.
Here are the details:

Who:

AltaRock Energy (www.altarockenergy.com), the leading renewable energy development company focused on the research and development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), and Davenport Newberry (www.newberrygeothermal.com), which specializes in the development and management of geothermal opportunities, announced on June 8 that we will be conducting a demonstration of EGS technology as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technology Program (www1.eere.energy.gov/geothermal) at a site located near Bend, Oregon.

The Project’s Purpose:

To demonstrate to the American public that EGS techonology can be used to create geothermal reservoirs and extract heat from the earth in locations where high temperatures can be reached by conventional drilling techniques – in an effort to advance geothermal energy’s promise and potential in the U.S.

Where:

The demonstration will take place on an existing Federal lease located outside the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, about 30 miles south of Bend. Leases located outside the Monument boundary were designated for geothermal use by a committee that included representatives of the community, environmental groups (including Sierra Club and Oregon High Desert Association), government and the geothermal industry. This committee drafted the bill that was adopted in the Congressional process that established the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and adjacent geothermal leases.

Government, Academic and Scientific Support:

Funded by a recent $21.45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and $22.36 million from the AltaRock-Davenport partnership, the project will also benefit from the research efforts of faculty and students at the University of Oregon, the University of Utah, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Texas A&M, and Temple University, and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a host of Oregon state agencies will review all plans and issue applicable permits only when satisfied that the Newberry project complies with strict standards. These public-sector entities will also continue to monitor all aspects of the project as it progresses.

Oversight:

The Newberry project is subject to strict regulatory agency approval and will meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  This is a true example of government and industry working together in a public-private collaboration

What exactly Is EGS:

The U.S. Department of Energy describes EGS as extracting heat from the earth by creating a subsurface fracture system and circulating water through these fractures using deep well bores. Creating an EGS reservoir requires improving the natural permeability of rock. Rock is permeable due to the presence of minute fractures or pore spaces. Water pumped into deep injection wells is heated by contact with the rock and returns to the surface through production wells, similar to naturally occurring hydrothermal systems.

Why EGS Is Needed:

A 2007 study led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated that with suitable investments and improvements to existing technology, EGS could supply up to 10 percent of America’s electricity needs within 50 years at prices competitive with fossil-fuel fired generation, but with very low greenhouse gas emissions.  Many supporters recognize that geothermal energy is one of the few baseload renewable power sources available. And there is great support for geothermal technology and a new energy economy, both in the U.S. and around the world.  

How Long Has EGS Been Around:

Geothermal energy is proven and has tremendous upside. It has been generating electricity for nearly 50 years in the U.S., and more than 100 years at other sites around the world. EGS is an extension of this original technology, and it can further increase the reach of geothermal power generation. Efforts to develop EGS technology in the United States date back to research conducted at Fenton Hill, New Mexico in 1970. Subsequent international efforts include Rosmanowes, England; Hijiori, Japan; Ogachi, Japan; Soultz, France; and Cooper Basin, Australia. Demonstrating EGS technology at Newberry will help America become a world leader in this technology.

And for more information on EGS and the Newberry project, visit:  www.newberrygeothermal.com

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