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Nevada FORGE geothermal research site could see commercial future

Drilling rig on project site of FORGE in Fallon, Nevada (source: FORGE)
Alexander Richter 6 Aug 2018

Loosing its bid for large scale funding under the U.S. DOE's FORGE project, there could be commercial interest in geothermal development on the site.

With the loss to the FORGE team in the state of Utah, the team of researchers that were in a bid for the project site in Fallon, Nevada, are not giving up.

Running in a bid for up to $140 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for an enhanced geothermal systems research project, the decision for the site in Utah, was a big blow to the efforts of a strong team and years-long efforts.

The  team saw great support, last but not least by the Office of Energy of Governor Brian Sandoval, which pledged $1 million to help the team in their work and bid.

As the Sparks Tribute writes, James Faulds, the state geologist and director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, said that he thought the Fallon team, which he was involved with, put forward a strong proposal. He said the Fallon site would have explored three rock types whereas the Utah site would only target one rock type.  “We really thought we had the best project and best team,” he said.

For everyone involved, the question has turned to what happens to years of research, development and initial exploration at the proposed lab site in Fallon.

The team, which was led by Sandia National Laboratories, invested in drilling test holes, conducting environmental reviews and getting permits and was with the group from Utah, the only remaining two contenders.

“There is interest out there to do work on that site independent of the official FORGE [project].”

He said that it’s possible a private company could develop a geothermal power plant on the site. He added that there has already been some industry interest in using the team’s research to turn the site into a commercial project.

“We know that the site is very suitable for [an enhanced geothermal project],” he said.

Strong said that in addition to developing the Fallon site for a commercial project, there is still talk of conducting research there. Western Nevada College, he said, is interested in continuing work on the project.

“There’s the potential to acquire money out there and kind of do our own thing,” Strong said.

Source: Sparks Tribune