By Greentech Lead America: Newberry EGS, a joint
venture of Davenport Newberry and AltaRock Energy, announced that the Newberry
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Demonstration project has met the
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Energy have reached a Finding
of No Significant Impact (FONSI).
In issuing a FONSI, the regulatory agencies determined
the project will not significantly affect the quality of the human or natural
environment. By obtaining the FONSI decision, Newberry EGS now can proceed with
Phase II of the project.
Newberry EGS project is located in the Deschutes National
Forest in central Oregon. The project aims to demonstrate AltaRock’s new
technology designed to lower the cost of EGS, and thus allow economic
extraction of heat from the earth in locations where high temperatures can be
reached by conventional drilling techniques.
If the Demonstration is completed successfully, it will
provide an exciting path forward to maximize the potential for geothermal
energy development in the U.S.
“Securing this authorization is a critical achievement
for the Newberry EGS team having met national environmental policy and goals
for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of the environment,” said Doug
Perry, president and CEO of Davenport Newberry.
The first phase of the Newberry EGS Project involving
planning for the well stimulation, environmental studies and public outreach,
recently reached completion. AltaRock has partnered with federal agencies,
state agencies, government scientific labs, universities and Davenport Newberry
in the execution of Phase I.
“Geothermal energy has the potential to meet a large
share of our nation’s energy needs if we can demonstrate that we now have the
technology to bring the price of EGS in line with existing utility rates. The
Newberry EGS Demonstration will show that EGS can be an economically viable
source of broad-scale 24/7 baseload renewable energy,” said Susan Petty,
president and founder of AltaRock Energy.
In Phase II of the Newberry EGS Demonstration, water will
be injected into an existing hot well to create multiple reservoirs of
connected cracks 6,500-11,000 feet below ground. Prior to the injection of
water, an array of sensitive seismometers will be installed on the surface and
in bore-holes for real-time monitoring of the EGS stimulation. Hydrologic
monitoring will also be conducted during and after stimulation. Once the
reservoirs are created, production wells will be drilled to intersect the
stimulated fractures and flow tests will be conducted to evaluate the potential
for using the EGS reservoirs as heat exchangers to produce electricity in the
future. Phase II of the project is expected to be completed in 2014.