Bend, Ore., June 9, 2010 – AltaRock Energy and Davenport Newberry plan to conduct a demonstration of EGS technology as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technology Program at a site located near Bend, Oregon.
The purpose of this project is to create geothermal reservoirs and extract heat from the earth in locations where high temperatures can be reached by conventional drilling techniques.
The demonstration will take place on an existing federal lease located outside the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, about 30 miles south of Bend.
Leases located outside the monument boundary were designated for geothermal use by a committee that included representatives of the community, environmental groups, government and the geothermal industry.
This committee helped draft the legislation that was adopted in the Congressional process that established the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and adjacent geothermal leases.
Funded by a recent $21.45 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant through the DOE and $22.36 million from the AltaRock-Davenport partnership, the project will also benefit from the research efforts of faculty and students at the University of Oregon, University of Utah, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Texas A&M, Temple University and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the DOE and Oregon state officials will review all plans and issue applicable permits only when satisfied that the Newberry project complies with strict standards. These public-sector entities will also continue to monitor all aspects of the project as it progresses.
The DOE describes EGS as extracting heat from the earth by creating a subsurface fracture system and circulating water through these fractures using deep well bores. Creating an EGS reservoir requires improving the natural permeability of rock.
Rock is permeable due to the presence of minute fractures or pore spaces. Water pumped into deep injection wells is heated by contact with the rock and returns to the surface through production wells, similar to naturally occurring geothermal systems.