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Geothermal test drilling to be conducted on two sites in the State of Washington, U.S.

Mount Baker, Washington State, U.S. (source: flickr/ ensteele, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 23 Jul 2018

The Washington Geological Survey is planning to drill two test wells at two geothermal sites at Mount Baker and Mount St. Helen in the State of Washington to explore the possibility of further geothermal development.

Local news in the State of Washington report that there will be some test drilling done near Mount Baker at Baker Lake. The project is planned by the Department of Natural Resources.

As reported by Alex Steely, geothermal project manager for the agency’s Washington Geological Survey, drilling is expected to be done in September following drilling at a site near Mount St. Helen that will start this month.

Mount St. Helen and Mount Banker are two volcanoes in the State of Washington in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Each site will see one well to be drilled at a width of 2-inches (5 centimeters) and a depth of 1,600 foot (around 490 meters) with a drilling duration of two weeks for each well.

In assessing the geothermal resources of the state, Natural Resources in Washington is trying to identify renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels. The wells will be tested for temperatures to explore their geothermal potential. So while much more would be needed to explore the resource the hope is that the sites have sufficient potential for operating a geothermal power plant in the future, according to Steely.

The site at Mount Baker is promising because of previous evidence of geothermal heat, water accessibility and nearby transmission infrastructure.

The State has received about $2 million in grant funding since 2011 form the U.S. Department of Energy to explore where geothermal development could be most promising. The funding has been used by the Washington Geological Survey and U.S. Geological Survey for drilling and other geological surveys.

If the holes drilled this summer show geothermal energy with temperatures above 100 degrees F (38°C), additional drilling, temperature testing, rock analysis and mapping would be needed to determine the size and shape of the geothermal resource before a power plant could potentially be built in the area.

Source: The Spokesman-Review