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SRGC’s proposed site sits within INL’s Geothermal Resource Research Area (GRRA), a parcel of secure DOE land located along the Snake River Plain in southeastern Idaho. The SRGC FORGE team will have access to the entire GRRA which measures approximate 39 mi2 (100 km2), however a designated operational area will be used for well pad development. The location was chosen to minimize required surface disturbance while maximizing subsurface access. The Department of Energy-owned site is approximately 15 mi (24 km) from the nearest city, Arco.
A deep geothermal exploration well, INEL-1, is approximately 3.75 mi (6 km) from the proposed FORGE location and is being used as a reference for future planning and will serve as a monitoring well for FORGE operations. Additionally there are two USGS groundwater observations wells and several observational and monitoring well located nearby the boundary of the GRRA.
Data collected from the nearby wells indicate an average gradient of 207.7°F/mi (54°C/km) and based on the bottom hole temperature of INEL-1, and the range of observed geothermal gradients, the SRGC expects to reach 350°F (175°C) at depths ranging from as little as 1.6 to 2.4 mi (2.6 to 3.8 km), with further data proving a lack of permeability.
- INL has supported a seismic monitoring program and has monitored nearby activity on the Snake River Plain since 1972.
- INL has and supports its own stand-alone power grid, along with a full-time electrical transmission staff.
- SRGC plans to leverage advances made in the oil and gas industries, specifically shale gas development, and bring those advances to EGS R&D.
Additional information on their team is available at snakerivergeothermal.org, an informational video is available on INL's YouTube channel, and you can follow them on Twitter through the hashtag #SnakeRiverFORGE.