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Hydroshearing achieved!

October 31, 2012

We have exciting news to share this morning. Yesterday, we got both pumps running at full capability and brought the well head pressure up to 1800 psi. Shortly afterwards, two microseismic events with magnitudes close to zero occurred near the bottom of the bore hole.  In addition, the permeability increased slightly.  This means that hydroshearing and creation of an EGS reservoir has begun!  As we continue to slowly increase the rpm’s of the pumps, we anticipate many more microseismic events over the next week.

The map above shows the locations (red dots) of the events in relation to the geothermal well’s surface location and five of our closest monitoring stations.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2012 4:39 pm

    Nice work everyone! Your colleagues in the global geothermal community are excited.

  2. November 1, 2012 9:12 am

    Dear Susan,

    Congratulations for this groundbreaking achievement. We’re highly interested in the next steps to come and will keep on focusing our binoculars from Switzerland to the Newberry site.
    With hot regards

    Joerg Uhde

  3. Dave brown permalink
    November 3, 2012 3:33 pm

    You mention that it takes a small amount of water to run the test and begin fracturing the rock. You neglect to state the amount of water it will take to achieve a commercial plant and where this water will come from. If we use the example of the Gysers in California this plant will require an enormous amount of water from outside sources to sustain production.

    You also mention there is little danger of drilling into a volcano. You apparently are ignoring the experience of the Puna Plant in Hawaii.

    This is about the third effort at developing this resource. At what time do you folks stop trying to impact a pristine area for a very marginal amount of output. You also don’t explain to the public the footprint and impact this type of resource hason the are.

    • November 3, 2012 5:04 pm


      Thanks for your comments. I would like to respond to some of them to set the record straight.

      Your are right that we are focused on the water use for the demonstration part of this project. If we are successful in the EGS demonstration and decide that a power plant is feasible, we will be doing a great deal more planning and permitting. At that point we will know better what our long term needs for water will be. We will need to apply for the many new permits (including for water usage) and the project will go through another round of public review. The Geysers do use water pumped from Santa Rosa and Lake County, but it is treated water from their sewage plants which cannot be discharged into surface waters. This water cannot be used for other purposes, so injecting it to maintain geothermal output at the Geysers is win-win.

      If you have evidence that the Puna plant in Hawaii caused a volcanic eruption, please share this information. We are unaware of any such evidence.

      Your statement that we are impacting a “pristine area” is misinformed. I am an environmentalist and am all for preserving pristine landscapes. Logging clear cuts and geothermal drilling have been happening at Newberry for a long time. Just look at a google earth image (like the base map above) to see the impact of logging outside of the monument – pristine isn’t the right word. Your implication that this project has a large footprint is also misinformed. Geothermal energy has among the lowest surface footprints of all energy resources. Solar panels in the desert, wind turbines on ridge lines, and coal mines all have bigger footprints per megawatt of electricity produced than geothermal (I will post the reference in a later post). I am concerned about the global “footprint” of global warming and trying to do something to lessen our reliance on fossil fuels by generating electricity from renewable sources.

      Trenton Cladouhos

    • November 3, 2012 8:57 pm

      Here are some references on the the footprint of geothermal versus other forms of energy:

      1. A CNET article with a graph reproduced by an academic study that shows that only nuclear has a smaller footprint:

      2. Two blog posts that we have already written on the topic:



  4. Laura Nofziger permalink
    November 4, 2012 2:22 pm

    Congratulations! You guys rock!

  5. November 5, 2012 5:25 pm

    For those of us on the topside part of the geothermal power plant business, it’s interesting to read about EGS reservoir/exchanger development on a day-to-day blog basis. I think you folks have a more interesting work life than we do. So thanks for the thrilling blog posts about psi and permeability, etc. This is very interesting stuff. So like Joerg Uhde, we at POWER send our hot regards to Susan and the NG crew.

  6. Meaghan MacPherson permalink
    November 10, 2012 2:00 am

    Really great stuff guys! I am tickled with excitement to continue to hear about the EGS development at Newberry. Keep it up!
    -Meaghan MacPherson

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