The Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) initiative, led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), contains three phases. The first two phases focused on selecting a site and operations team. The third phase consists of full FORGE implementation at a single site and managing annual solicitation cycles.
FORGE Site History
- Phase 1 (2015–2016)
- Five teams:
- Teams performed analysis on the potential of their proposed site and developed plans for research and development (R&D) and data collection in Phase 2. The awardees assessed all available site characterization data and compiled it into a geologic model of the proposed site.
- Phase 2 (2016–2018)
- Two teams:
- Fallon FORGE team
- Utah FORGE team
- Teams fully instrumented, characterized, and permitted candidate sites for drilling and full-scale operations at FORGE for Phase 3 R&D.
- Learn more about the Phase 2 awardees, including teams, locations, data, and reports.
- Two teams:
- Phase 3 (2018–present)
- One team: Utah FORGE team at FORGE site in Milford, Utah.
- Prepare site for R&D projects, such as drilling full-size wells.
- Implement R&D program, guided by a collaborative research strategy and executed via annual research and development solicitations.
- Partners from industry, academia, and the national laboratories have ongoing opportunities to conduct R&D projects at the site.
FORGE Site Descriptions
Utah FORGE, led by the University of Utah–Energy & Geoscience Institute in association with multiple partner organizations, is a dedicated laboratory for developing, testing, and accelerating breakthroughs in enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technologies to advance the use of geothermal resources. Near Milford, Utah, in eastern Beaver County, the project area is rural, covering approximately 15 square miles, and is adjacent to a wind farm and solar photovoltaic power station.
The Utah FORGE team includes members from Energy & Geoscience Institute; State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration; Governor’s Office of Energy Development; University of Wisconsin-Madison U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management; ENEL; Geo Energie Suisse; The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; J. Miller; Schlumberger; D. Winkler; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; US Solar Fund; Utah Division of State History; Beaver County; Hot Rock Management Services; Geothermal Resource Group; Smithfield; Seequent; Utah Division of Water Rights; Utah Department of Environmental Quality; University of Utah Seismograph Stations; Utah Geological Survey; Golder; SWCA; Idaho National Laboratory; and Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.
Check out the Utah FORGE team’s Phase 1 Report (2016) and Final Topical Report (2018), or the Utah FORGE data on the Geothermal Data Repository. You can also explore the FORGE Wiki on OpenEI and visit Utah FORGE for more information and their publications.
A team led by Sandia National Laboratories proposed that the FORGE site be located in Fallon, Nevada, on and around Naval Air Station Fallon. The team sought to establish and manage a well-characterized and highly instrumented field test site. The site was believed to advance EGS research, enabling the broader engineering and science community to accelerate the deployment of EGS. Prior geothermal exploration at the proposed site identified attractive temperatures but sub-commercial permeabilities that prevented conventional geothermal development in the area. It was determined however, that the site was appropriate for EGS development.
The Fallon FORGE team included members from Sandia National Laboratories; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Navy Geothermal Program Office; Ormat Nevada, Inc.; the U.S. Geological Survey (Menlo Park, California); University of Nevada, Reno; GeothermEx/Schlumberger; and Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.
Check out the Fallon FORGE team’s Phase 1 Report (2016) or view Fallon FORGE data on the Geothermal Data Repository.
A team led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory proposed establishing the FORGE site on the western flank of the Newberry Volcano in Central Oregon. The region surrounding the proposed site, along with its geothermal and EGS potential, was previously explored and researched by members of the team. The understanding and data gathered with those efforts would provide the scientific foundation for establishing a potential FORGE site.
The Newberry FORGE team, led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, included members from Oregon State University and AltaRock Energy, Inc.
Explore the Newberry team’s Phase 1 Report (2016) and Newberry data in the Geothermal Data Repository.
The Snake River Geothermal Consortium, led by the Idaho National Laboratory proposed establishing FORGE within the laboratory’s Geothermal Resource Research Area as a resource for technology development, deployment, and validation.
The Snake River Plain team included members from Baker Hughes, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies–INL, University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University, University of Wyoming–Campbell Scientific, Chena Power, Geothermal Resources Group, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Geologic Survey, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Mink GeoHydro, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, University of Oklahoma, University of Utah, U.S. Geothermal, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Explore the Snake River team’s Phase 1 Report (2016) and the Snake River data in the Geothermal Data Repository.
West Flank of Coso, California Site
The West Flank FORGE team, led by Sandia National Laboratories, proposed a research and development plan that aimed to reduce risks to industry and enable EGS development within the U.S. Navy’s China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in the desert region of Southeastern California. Drilling in and around the selected FORGE location had indicated remarkably low permeability and very attractive temperatures—key elements for an EGS test site.
The West Flank FORGE team, led by Sandia National Laboratories, included members from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Navy Geothermal Program Office; Coso Operating Company; the U.S. Geological Survey (Menlo Park, California); the University of Nevada, Reno; GeothermEx/Schlumberger; and Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.
Check out the West Flank team’s Phase 1 Report (2016) and West Flank data in the Geothermal Data Repository.