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DOE Awards Geothermal Research Grants in NV, UT, CA, ID, OR

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Energy Department has awarded grants to scientists in five western states to develop research for a national lab aimed at tapping hard-to-get-to geothermal energy they say someday could provide enough power to supply 100 million homes.

Lynn Orr, energy undersecretary for science, announced Monday research teams in Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah also will share the $2 million for the first phase of the project.

Next year, DOE will choose three finalists to share an additional $29 million in the second phase of the effort aimed at building the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy.

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Orr says the field lab will develop "enhanced geothermal systems" to create pathways beneath the earth to access geothermal reservoirs with water flows through hard rock formations that can't be reached using existing technology.