Word of the Week – Normal Fault

Normal Fault

High angle fault that results from extensional stress and forms a steeply dipping planar structure. Slip movement during an earthquake is vertical and down dip. The down-dropped block is called the hanging wall and the uplifted block is called the footwall.

Geothermal Webinar Series V1

Introduction to Fervo Energy - a next-generation

geothermal development company

Fervo is applying proven technologies from the unconventional oil and gas sector, such as horizontal drilling, multistage completions, and fiber optic diagnostics, to improve reservoir performance and lower the cost of geothermal energy. Over the last several years, we have deployed our technology at the field-scale through multiple pilot projects, including a commercial-scale demonstration project in northern Nevada. In this talk, I will review some of the key results from these field trials, and I will discuss opportunities for transferring technology innovations and lessons learned between the geothermal industry and the Utah FORGE project. In addition, I will highlight several recent trends in western US power markets that are driving tremendous growth opportunities for the geothermal industry.

Tuesday October 11 at 9:30 am Mountain time. Registration required.

Please welcome our inaugural speaker Jack Norbeck of Fervo Energy.

Dr. Jack Norbeck is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Fervo Energy, where he leads exploration and production activities. He is a geothermal reservoir engineer, with a focus on numerical reservoir simulation, geomechanics, and induced seismicity. Prior to Fervo Energy, Dr. Norbeck was a Mendehall Postdoctoral Fellow at the US Geological Survey. He holds a BS degree in civil engineering from University of Colorado, a MS degree in civil engineering from Colorado School of Mines, and a PhD degree in energy resources engineering from Stanford University. He was President of the SPE Student Chapter at Stanford University from 2014-2015.

Did You Know that renewable energy corridors can be the future of energy production?

Did You Know… Renewable Energy Corridors Can Be the Future of Energy Production?

In the Escalante desert of southwestern Utah, near the town of Milford, there are four different types of renewable energy: wind, solar, biogas, and geothermal. They’re all being used to produce energy at the same time. The co-location and concentration of such diverse renewable resources in the North Milford Valley is unique, and it serves as a model of what other renewable energy corridors might be able to achieve around the country.

Beaver County is sunnier  than 88% of the counties in the United States, so it’s no wonder that solar farms have been built there to capture the power of sunshine! The solar panels cover three square miles in total and produce approximately 620,000 megawatt hours (mwh) of electricity yearly. As for wind generation, the 30-mile long North Milford Valley funnels the prevailing south to north air flow. To harvest this energy, Utah’s largest wind farm, made up of 155 wind turbines, also generates approximately 620,000 mwh. But wind and solar generation are relative newcomers compared to geothermal energy, which has been running since 1984 and providing about 250,000 mwh of electricity yearly. Geothermal resources require special geological circumstances, and these were identified in the vicinity of Roosevelt Hot Springs in the 1970s. The Blundell power plant is the sole geothermal producer in the Renewable Energy Corridor, but work is underway to test a new type of geothermal resource, Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), nearby at Utah FORGE.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is created from the breakdown of animal waste. In fact, 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions globally are from livestock! By capturing the methane emissions from the decomposition of manure, instead of letting it be released directly into the atmosphere, it can instead be turned into a renewable form of natural gas. In this corridor there are 26 hog farms, making enough biogas to heat 3,000 homes. A natural gas pipeline running through the area provides a convenient way to transport this biogas out of the rural location and into more urban areas, where it can be used for heating.

What potential exists across the country to create similar renewable corridors? There are two equally crucial elements needed: the resources, and the infrastructure. For example, there are large swaths of land in the plains of North Dakota with great wind energy resources. But there are no transmission lines to run the electricity generated from the sparsely populated areas where the demand is low, to large population centers where it can be used. To harvest that wind, hundreds of miles of transmission lines would have to be built.

These renewable corridors have many benefits over single resource areas. The Renewable Energy Corridor in Beaver County supplies both electricity and natural gas, which is used to heat homes and cook food. Additionally, wind power can generate power at night, and solar can generate power when there is no wind. Whereas wind and solar are both dependent on weather conditions, geothermal can operate all day, every day. There may even be the option in the future to use geothermal as a battery for the intermittent renewables, or waste heat from the geothermal power plant could be used to promote biogas production in winter when the cold temperatures slow it down.

If there’s more solar and wind energy being generated than is being used at a given time, that excess energy could be stored as heat in the ground, to be extracted later. This balances out the supply and demand sides of the grid.

Factors to consider:

  • Resource (sun, wind, geothermal)
  • Space (physical space, distance from people (fumes, odor, noise, etc.))
  • Site access (set-up and maintenance)
  • Grid/pipeline connection
  • Environment (won’t impact groundwater, endangered species, cause erosion, etc.)



















A MW hour is the actual electricity generated. Same as the kw hour on your electricity bill. The total capacity of the turbine, rated in MW, assumes 100% performance. The turbine doesn’t spin all the time.

Word of the Week – Zircon


Zirconium silicate (ZrSiO4) is a minor or accessory mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks. It contains measurable albeit minor amounts of uranium and lead, which make it amenable for radiometric dating. Zircons are some of the oldest dated minerals on Earth.

Word of the Week – Granite


Light colored, coarse grained, intrusive rock with a felsic (silica-rich) composition that is mostly made of quartz, sodium and potassium-bearing feldspar, and plagioclase. Minor amounts of other minerals can include mica (muscovite, biotite), hornblende, magnetite (iron oxide), and ilmenite (titanium-iron oxide).

Did You Know that China is home to one of the oldest known geothermal pools in the world?


Did you know… that China is home to one of the oldest known geothermal pools in the world?

Huaqing Pool, located near Mount Li in the province of Shaanxi, China, has a long and storied history. The complex of hot springs has been in use for close to three millennia and was a famous getaway spot for multiple Chinese emperors. The ancient Chinese utilized the natural geothermal activity in the area for cleaning and bathing. Today geothermal energy is widely developed in China primarily for direct use and district heating. Moreover, the source of this heat relates to a dynamic geological history that includes the collision of continental plates which produced the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau.

The pools at Huaqing make up a large hot spring complex. The first stone pool was built during the Qin Dynasty from 206 BC to 220 AD, but the history of the site dates back even further, to the Western Zhou Dynasty, from 1046 to 771 BC. King You built the Li Palace in that era to enjoy the natural beauty, starting a long history of many emperors coming to visit. The area has been expanded since the original little stone pool was first constructed back in the Qin Dynasty. Today the site comprises many pools, historical sites, and even a daily performance! It’s a full-fledged tourist destination.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow is a show performed daily during the warm months, between April and October. It tells the love story of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei, with over 300 actors in extravagant costumes. It is also home to the beautiful Nine Dragon Lake. The glassy water surrounds nine stone dragon carvings and is home to Koi fish.

The five historical hot springs on the main site are not available for public use, but there are plenty of hotels and resorts in the surrounding area that are open to everyone. It’s easy to enjoy a day at the Huaqing Pools, learning about the long history of the area, before heading back to your resort to experience the same waters that the ancient Chinese emperors did thousands of years ago.