Monday, July 2, 2018

Utah: 2,200 MW Geothermal Energy Ready to be Developed in Bee-Hive State

Op-ed: Utah is ‘forging’ new pathways for baseload renewable power (Deseret News)

Contributor Laura Nelson is the Utah governor’s energy advisor and the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development.

Affordable, baseload, renewable power forged from the heat of the Earth could soon become the next game-changing technology to electrify economies across the world — and Utah is ground zero for this prime resource and new innovation.

On June 14, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Utah as its winning site to receive $140 million in federal funding to create a first-of-its-kind laboratory for developing enhanced geothermal systems, or man-made geothermal reservoirs in hot dry rock.

Supported by Utah’s unparalleled rural workforce and several world-class researchers, Utah is leading this new national opportunity and will soon become the global epicenter for geothermal exploration, driving new infrastructure and new investment in rural Utah. In fact, we’re just picking up steam.

While Utah currently ranks third in the country for geothermal production at 72 megawatts, we still have another 2,200 megawatts ready to be developed. Already, a new transmission line has been approved thanks to a public-private partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Additionally, Rocky Mountain Power has issued a request for proposal for 40 megawatts of new geothermal energy to be developed, alongside more solar and wind. In Beaver County alone, renewable energy represents more than 45 percent (roughly $600 million) of its total assessed evaluation — a staggering percentage for one industry — and one that will continue to provide growing economic benefits.