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Nevada Site Chosen For Geothermal Energy Research

Fly geyser
"Fly geyser" by Jeremy C. Munns - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fly Geyser in Washoe County is the spectacular leftovers of a geothermal energy effort in the 1960s.

Governor Brian Sandoval announced Tuesday, April 28, that a site near Fallon will be the site of geothermal energy research.

The Department of Energy allotted $2 million in federal funds to launch the groundbreaking project – known as FORGE, the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy.

Paul Thomsen, director of Nevada Governor's Office of Energy, told KNPR's State of Nevada that geothermal energy needs three things to work properly: heat, water and permeability, which is the ability of water to circulate. Not having one of those factors currently means there is no way to develop a full-scale power plant.

“What the DOE hopes to do at FORGE is work with these enhanced geothermal system to be able the resolve the problems that are indicative to geothermal development and take those lessons learned and deploy them," Thomsen said.

Everyone behind the project hopes it will bring research dollars to the state and enhance the work already being done at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“This is going to bring world class researchers and scientists to this site,“ Thomsen said.

Thomsen estimates that the initial development will take about a year. 

Paul Thomsen, director, Nevada Governor's Office of Energy

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.