Nevada a finalist for geothermal lab

WASHINGTON — Nevada on Monday was declared a finalist to compete for a federal laboratory to develop the next generation of geothermal energy technology.

A site within the U.S. Naval Air Station in Fallon was one of five the Department of Energy is considering for its Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy lab. California, Utah, Idaho and Oregon also are competing.

The department said it is distributing $2 million among five teams for the first phase of competition to host the project. The Nevada team is led by Sandia National Laboratories and includes the University of Nevada, Reno and Reno-based Ormat Technologies along with the U.S. Navy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“The nation’s lab for advancing geothermal belongs in Nevada; it would further establish Nevada as a leader in renewable energy,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. “I feel very good about our winning the contest.”

The Department of Energy is prepared to distribute up to $31 million over two years for competitors to demonstrate the potential of each site and their capabilities to manage it. Up to three teams will move to the second part of the competition, with a site to be named at the end.

DOE officials envision the FORGE laboratory as the headquarters of cutting-edge geothermal research.

“Enhanced geothermal systems could represent the next frontier of renewable energy and hold the potential to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio while reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere,” said Lynn Orr, undersecretary for science and energy.

Contact Steve Tetreault at stetreault@reviewjournal.com or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC.