The geothermal facility in the Williston Basin in North Dakota. | Photo by Kirby Baier of Continental Resources

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of North Dakota (UND) today received the Geothermal Energy Association Honors award for Technological Advancement. This award recognizes the development of a new, innovative, or pioneering technology to further geothermal development. The DOE and UND partnership earned this award for launching the first commercial project that produces geothermal power from an oil and gas well.

In May 2016, DOE announced the launch of the nation’s first commercial enterprise to co-produce electricity from geothermal resources at an oil and gas field. With support from DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), researchers at UND successfully generated geothermal power from hot water that flows from wells in the Williston Basin in western North Dakota. This technology can offset the need for costly transmission construction and reduces energy costs at remote oil fields. The facility started generating electricity for the first time in late April.

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) Honors recognize significant contributions to the development of the geothermal industry. The GEA, along with its member companies, formed the GEA Honors award program to showcase the most inspiring developments in the geothermal industry. Criteria for award selection include:

  • involvement in the industry;
  • leadership and success;
  • positive overall environmental footprint; and
  • the creation of jobs.

DOE and UND were presented with the award at the Baseload Renewable Energy Summit today in Reno, Nevada.

GTO continues to accelerate the deployment of clean, domestic geothermal energy by supporting innovative technologies that reduce the cost and risk of development. By optimizing the value stream for electricity production and related uses, GTO aims to make geothermal energy a fully cost-competitive, widely available, and geographically diverse component of the national energy mix.