Blog

AltaRock Energy, Inc. maintains both a blog and Facebook page for the Newberry EGS Demonstration Project. These pages are your source for the most up-to-date information about the Newberry EGS Demonstration, including field updates, photos, and informal commentary from AltaRock staff as the project moves forward. Below are a few recent highlights of articles we’ve published on the blog. To view the entire blog page, please visit http://blog.newberrygeothermal.com/. The Newberry EGS Demonstration Facebook page is also a resource for up-to-date information about the project https://www.facebook.com/NewberryEGS.

NEWGEN Website Launched!

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new website dedicated entirely to the Newberry Geothermal Energy project. Check it out at www.newberrygeothermal.com and be sure to click on the video explaining geothermal energy and the FORGE initiative. We’ll continue to update this blog, our Facebook page, and the new website as the project moves forward. Thanks for staying tuned!

website

Welcome to the new look of the Newberry Geothermal Energy blog!

Newberry Geothermal Energy (NEWGEN) is a collaborative effort lead by a team of researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oregon State University and AltaRock Energy, Inc. Combining research, academic and industry experience, this dynamic group will push geothermal energy research forward at the Newberry Volcano Enhanced Geothermal Energy (EGS) field site. Newberry Geothermal Energy is funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) through a competitive grant process which provides staged funding opportunities over the next several years. Five initial teams and field sites were selected in early 2015 to kick-off the DOE Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) initiative, and the Newberry site is a strong contender amongst them.

The project is currently in Phase I of III and has received $400,000 in initial funding from the DOE FORGE initiative plus additional investments from partner institutions. Phase I will culminate in a conceptual geologic model detailing the geothermal resource at Newberry Volcano, and a final report and presentation to the DOE FORGE review committee in the spring of 2016. Together, the conceptual geologic model, report and presentation will articulate Newberry’s suitability as the nation’s FORGE site. The five competing groups in Phase I will be down-selected to a maximum of three groups which will continue to Phase II. Phase II will involve further site characterization, team building and planning, followed by down-selection to the final FORGE site which will continue into Phase III. Phase III will involve field site development, well drilling, reservoir stimulation and testing and other competitively funded research and development activities related to EGS.

If Newberry Geothermal Energy is selected as the final FORGE site, there will be significant economic benefits to Central Oregon, the state and the region as scientists and engineers from around the country and the world come to the community to do research. The NEWGEN site is just 28 miles from OSU-Cascades, Oregon State University’s branch campus in Bend, creating opportunities for faculty research, student internships and community engagement. Successful development of the Newberry site into a national laboratory for EGS research will support cutting-edge science and engineering dedicated to bringing geothermal energy online at competitive market rates across the country. The laboratory will also serve as a training site for those entering the sustainable energy workforce.

Eventually, research breakthroughs at FORGE will enable development of the massive geothermal resource on Newberry Volcano with the potential to create up to 300 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs. In addition, the State of Oregon and Deschutes County will benefit from royalty income generated by the project during Phase III. The technologies to be tested and developed at NEWGEN will be applicable across the many volcanic areas of the western US, opening them up to EGS technology and making a real difference to the national capacity for EGS power generation.

With a long history of investment and research at Newberry, the site is well-aligned with DOE FORGE goals and requirements. Previous research at Newberry has made significant progress in characterizing the geologic and thermal properties of the area and significantly improved our understanding of EGS development in volcanic terrains. The Newberry Geothermal Energy team is dedicated to improving the scientific understanding of EGS development, deployment and effective management to generate sustainable energy for the future.

We thank you for visiting and hope you’ll continue to support us in our efforts to bring A Research Observatory for a Sustainable Future to Central Oregon!

Newberry Selected for first round of DOE FORGE funding

The Newberry EGS Demonstration site has been selected by the Department of Energy as a candidate site for the Frontier Observatory in Geothermal Energy. Here are a few links to articles about the announcement:

Bend Bulletin: Newberry Volcano Candidate for Geothermal Laboratory

KTVZ: Newberry Geothermal Research Lab Clears First Hurdle

U.S. Department of Energy About FORGE

DOE FORGE

Stimulation Data Analysis is Underway

Another busy field season at Newberry wrapped up at the end of November. The pumps, piping and other equipment has been put in storage and the well is shut in for the winter. Over the next few months we’ll be analyzing the data collected during stimulation and working with the Department of Energy to move forward with the project. The next stage in the Newberry EGS Demonstration project includes planning, permitting and drilling a production well.

The stimulation injected almost four million gallons of water over 32 days of pressurized pumping. During this time 397 microseismic events were detected by the seismometer array, indicating the depth and volume of the EGS reservoir produced. Biodegradable diverters were injected on two separate occasions during stimulation and resulted in the creation of multiple zones of increased permeability within the reservoir. More information about the diverters, to TIZMs, can be found in our previous blog post (link). Preliminary results from the stimulation were presented at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in December, and the poster summary from the meeting can be found here:  AGU Newberry 2014 Poster. The analysis of the pressure, flow, seismicity and water data will continue over the next few months. The reports generated from the dataset will inform planning, permitting and execution of the next stage of work at Newberry. While data analysis is ongoing, scientific papers are currently being prepared for publication and will be presented at scientific meetings in the near future.

We’re quite happy with the stimulation results and look forward to future work at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site. The blog will be relatively quiet over the winter months, but you can expect more frequent updates in the spring as we gear up for more work at Newberry. In the meantime, here are a few more photos from the field season.

he drill rig up and running on the injection well pad at the Newberry EGS Demonstration.

he drill rig up and running on the injection well pad at the Newberry EGS Demonstration.

Slotted casing piled on site before it was installed in the bottom of the injection well at the Newberry EGS Demonstration project. Slotted casing allows water to move in and out of the well and keeps the rock walls from collapsing inward.

Slotted casing piled on site before it was installed in the bottom of the injection well at the Newberry EGS Demonstration project. Slotted casing allows water to move in and out of the well and keeps the rock walls from collapsing inward.

Setting up for the flow test on a drizzly day in late November, 2014.

Setting up for the flow test on a drizzly day in late November, 2014.

Opening the wellhead master valve at the start of the November, 2014 flow test.

Opening the wellhead master valve at the start of the November, 2014 flow test.

Update from the Field: Stimulation Underway

Stimulation of the Newberry EGS Demonstration injection well, NWG 55-29, began on September 23. Since then, we’ve successfully injected approximately 3,000,000 gallons of water into the expanding EGS reservoir. The first microseismic events associated with stimulation were recorded on September 28, and to date over 200 events have been located by the microseismic array (MSA). These events continue to be reviewed by seismologists as data streams in from the field. Data from a number of the MSA stations is available for viewing on the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network  and the Lawrence-Berkeley Nation Laboratory website.

Over the next week, we’ll inject TZIM into the well, diverting water flow away from the current zone and forcing it out into other areas to further improve the reservoir. After stimulation is complete, TZIM will biodegrade leaving behind an interconnected, multi-zone EGS reservoir. Once the TZIM has biodegraded, the well will be flow tested; steam and water production and temperature will be recorded and used to analyze results of this year’s field work.

We’d like to extend a thank you to all those who participated in the Geothermal Resource Council’s Newberry EGS Demonstration site tour in late September.  We had a great day in the field showing you the project site, and look forward to seeing you again soon! We also had a great weekend talking to visitors who stopped by our booth at the Bend Fall Festival last weekend.

The 15 station microseismic array (MSA) collects real-time microseismic data during stimulation. The data is used to map reservoir growth during stimulation. As a result of the Newberry EGS Demonstration, Newberry Volcano has been the most seismically-monitored volcano in the Cascades Range since 2012, when the MSA was installed.

The 15 station microseismic array (MSA) collects real-time microseismic data during stimulation. The data is used to map reservoir growth during stimulation. As a result of the Newberry EGS Demonstration, Newberry Volcano has been the most seismically-monitored volcano in the Cascades Range since 2012, when the MSA was installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TZIM, or thermally-degradable zonal isolation material (say that five times fast!), swirls into AltaRock’s injection hopper, or DIVA (diverter injection valve assembly). Biodegradable plastic TZIMs block open fractures in the EGS reservoir, forcing water out into new zones during stimulation.

TZIM, or thermally-degradable zonal isolation material (say that five times fast!), swirls into AltaRock’s injection hopper, or DIVA (diverter injection valve assembly). Biodegradable plastic TZIMs block open fractures in the EGS reservoir, forcing water out into new zones during stimulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of the Geothermal Resource Council’s Newberry field trip, 24 visiting scientists, government officials, journalists, professors and others interested in geothermal research visited the Newberry EGS Demonstration site in late September just after stimulation began.

As part of the Geothermal Resource Council’s Newberry field trip, 24 visiting scientists, government officials, journalists, professors and others interested in geothermal research visited the Newberry EGS Demonstration site in late September just after stimulation began.

AltaRock’s Dr. Trenton Cladouhos shows site visitors real-time data as it streams to the field office during stimulation at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site.

AltaRock’s Dr. Trenton Cladouhos shows site visitors real-time data as it streams to the field office during stimulation at the Newberry EGS Demonstration site.

AltaRock Presents Stimulation Results to the Stanford Geothermal Workshop

Two months after the stimulation and the well being shut in for the winter, we are pleased to have had the opportunity to present our results from the Newberry EGS Demonstration to the geothermal community at the 38th Stanford Geothermal Workshop. During the Wednesday morning session of talks on EGS, Susan Petty and Trenton Cladouhos of AltaRock presented our stimulation results to a crowd eager to hear of our progress.

(more…)

AltaRock’s Susan Petty Featured on Fox Business

We are pleased to share that the Newberry EGS Project and our very own Susan Petty, founder and president of AltaRock, were featured on national television, interviewed by Melissa Francis on Fox Business Network. Watch the video here.

Geothermal Project Featured on OPB’s “Oregon Field Guide”

The Newberry EGS Demonstration was recently featured on Oregon Field Guide, a program on Oregon Public Broadcasting. The show has been airing since 1988 and provides information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations.

(more…)

Drilling for our Energy Independence and EGS

A clean and renewable energy source, geothermal energy has been used to generate electricity in the U.S. for decades.

The obvious question is, “Why is so little attention given to geothermal energy?”

The simple answer is there just aren’t many locations where nature has made geothermal energy easily available. Geothermal energy occurs naturally when water from surface sources like rain water, lakes or aquifers finds its way down through the earth to hot rock formations deep underground. When this water comes in contact with hot rock, hot water and steam may rise to the surface in the form of geysers or hot springs. Some of the better known natural geothermal locations are Yellowstone National Park and The Geysers in Northern California. While these locations make popular tourist attractions, they are also marvelous demonstrations of clean, renewable geothermal energy.

(more…)

The Economic Potential of Enhanced Geothermal Systems

AltaRock Energy’s Newberry EGS Demonstration presents several opportunities in America’s energy infrastructure. Most prominent is that of clean, domestic, renewable energy: something that the U.S. does not have nearly enough of, while the pressures to wean from foreign fossil fuels are higher than ever.

(more…)


Top