The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded grants to scientists in five western states to do research in geothermal methods that can develop the region’s huge potential. It has been estimated that geothermal in this region could potentially generate enough electricity to power about 100 million homes.
Two million dollars was awarded to the research scientists for the first phase of a two-phase project. The second phase is another round of funding, but this time the amount is much larger: $29 million.
This might sound like a lot of money to give to some individual researchers, but is to build something called the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy. This concept is actually a lab that would be a place for conducting research in order to develop enhanced geothermal systems, in other words, the kind of geothermal that is needed to access deep stores of very hot water. Energy.gov says of FORGE:
FORGE’s mission is to enable cutting-edge research and drilling and technology testing, as well as to allow scientists to identify a replicable, commercial pathway to EGS. In addition to the site itself, the FORGE effort will include a robust instrumentation, data collection, and data dissemination component to capture and share data and activities occurring at FORGE in real-time. The innovative research, coupled with an equally-innovative collaboration and management platform, is truly a first of its-kind endeavor.
Geothermal doesn’t get nearly as much press or attention from the public as other forms of energy. It even gets less than solar, wind power, and energy storage. At the same time, it is a reliable, clean source of renewable energy, and will most likely help us transition from fossil fuels to energy that is better for us and the planet. Geothermal activity is mostly underground and enhanced geothermal systems are for tapping deep resources. The technology is not visible like solar panels and wind turbines, but geothermal is still important.
Image Credit: Stepheng3 via Wikimedia Commons
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