On February 8th, the Utah FORGE team was honored to welcome U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Utah Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson to the University of Utah’s Carolyn and Kem Gardner Commons building. Joining the Secretary were officials from the Utah Office of Energy Development, the University of Utah, and the Energy & Geoscience Institute, which manages the Utah FORGE research. Several students working on the project also attended. Dr. Joseph Moore, the Principal Investigator of Utah FORGE, presented an overview of the project and answered questions from the Secretary and others in attendance. Secretary Granholm expressed enthusiasm for the potential offered by the research in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS, the progress achieved thus far, and its role in advancing the nation’s renewable energy goals.

Following the presentation, the Secretary, Lt. Governor and Dr. Moore toured the geothermal pump room at the Gardner Commons. The building is entirely heated and cooled by some 150 geothermal wells located under a nearby soccer field. The system saves the University over $60,000 annually in energy costs.

At the conclusion of her visit, Secretary Granholm participated in a press conference held at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in the Gardner Commons. She announced up to $74 million funding opportunity for new pilot projects to advance Enhanced Geothermal Systems. Details about the funding opportunity are available here.

Photo: University of Utah civil and environmental engineering research professor Joseph Moore (left to right), U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson visit the campus Feb. 8 to discuss progress on the FORGE geothermal laboratory. (Photos credit: Eric Larson, FlashPoint SLC.)