Partner Spotlight – ENEL

Enel is a clean energy leader and innovator that’s electrifying the economy in North America with a mission to combat the climate crisis and build a low-carbon future. For over 20 years, Enel has advanced the economic, social and environmental benefits of clean electrification in the US and Canada. Enel provides a full spectrum of integrated energy services to help companies, cities and utilities reduce their carbon emissions and maximize the benefits of electrification through utility-scale renewable energy and storage, flexible energy resources, energy management, electric transportation and grid digitalization.

Through its Enel Green Power business line, Enel is a developer, long-term owner and operator of renewable energy plants across the US and Canada with a presence in 14 US states and one Canadian province. The company operates 64 plants with a managed capacity of over 7.6 GW powered by renewable wind, geothermal and solar energy. Enel operates the Cove Fort geothermal plant in Beaver County, Utah and is developing solar projects elsewhere in the state.

Cove Fort is the world’s first large-scale power generation facility to successfully combine geothermal with hydropower technology. Enel added a fully submersible downhole generator technology to a geothermal injection well, combining geothermal and hydroelectric power at one site. The cutting-edge generator used at Cove Fort captures the energy of the water flowing back into the earth to generate additional power, while also better controlling the flow of brine back into the ground. The downhole generator creates backpressure within the injection well that prevents two-phase flow and the associated vibration and potential for damage. The result is a first-of-its-kind innovation that can reduce operational and maintenance expenses, while also having the potential to generate additional revenues.

Enel Green Power invests in the sustainability of its host communities and identifies areas to create shared value with local partners. As part of its local engagement around Cove Fort, Enel has invested in STEM education programs through organizations including Beaver County 4H and Utah State University.

Enel partners with FORGE for geothermal-focused STEM education initiatives in Beaver County, using creative instructional methods like a song contest to engage students in the world of renewable energy. More initiatives as part of this partnership are in development.

Globally, Enel is the largest European utility by ordinary EBITDA, and is present in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy with around 89 GW of installed capacity.  Enel’s renewables arm Enel Green Power is the world’s largest renewable private player, with around 50 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower plants installed in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The company’s geothermal portfolio includes the oldest geothermal plant in the world, located in Italy.

Partner Spotlight – UGS

The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) is a state agency and division of the Utah Department of Natural Resources. The UGS provides timely scientific information about Utah’s geologic environment, resources, and hazards. Our work is focused on the generation and dissemination of geologic information to a variety of stakeholders that include the general public, and a diverse group of private, local, state, and federal entities. Seven specialized programs comprise the UGS: Energy & Minerals, Geologic Hazards, Geologic Information & Outreach, Geologic Mapping, Groundwater & Wetlands, Data Management, and Paleontology. As part of its mission the UGS also houses unique collections of geoscience data and physical samples including core and cuttings relating to Utah’s geothermal and other geologic resources.

The UGS strives to promote values that include excellence, integrity, and objectivity in everything we do; responsible stewardship of Utah’s geologic and energy resources; the free exchange of ideas and information in a spirit of cooperation; and provide prompt and courteous service to our customers and stakeholders.

The UGS celebrates and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Geosciences and aims to maintain a safe and inclusive environment for our employees and the public we serve.

The UGS has been involved with the Utah FORGE project since its inception in 2014. UGS work on the FORGE project is based on strong collaboration with researchers at the Energy and Geoscience at University of Utah, the Idaho National Laboratory, and many others.  Early work included characterizing aspects of the site that include; the thermal setting, the groundwater system, geophysical setting focusing on gravity and basin depth, and geologic setting of the site and adjoining Mineral Mountains. This work culminated in the awarding of the FORGE project to the Utah site, and subsequent site development as a unique national laboratory focused on novel techniques to stimulate and develop low permeability hot rock resources.

Current UGS work is focused on campaign gravity, GPS deformation, and groundwater monitoring on and adjoining the Utah FORGE site. The goal of this work is to constrain baseline and temporal trends both prior to and during development and stimulation activities at the site. Recent work has included installation of two continuous GPS stations and regional groundwater sampling to constrain geochemistry as it relates to the geothermal setting at the site. Additional work has focused on refining and better constraining the conceptual geologic and hydrologic setting of the Utah FORGE site and adjoining North Milford Valley.

Cartographers at the UGS have recently completed a readily accessible geoscientific webmap that presents various background datasets (infrastructure, geologic, thermal, hydrologic, etc.) for the FORGE site. It is accessible at The UGS also assists with well permitting and acts as liaison with State of Utah agencies that regulate various parts of the Utah FORGE development.

Partner Spotlight – UUSS

University of Utah Seismograph Stations - UUSS

Reducing the risk from earthquakes in Utah through research, education, and public service.

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS) maintains and operates a combined urban and regional seismic network throughout the State of Utah and a regional seismic network in Yellowstone National Park. UUSS monitors seismicity in these regions by providing earthquake locations and magnitudes. The monitoring in Utah is part of a state-federal partnership with the U. S. Geological Survey Advanced National Seismic System. Monitoring in Yellowstone is done as part of the U. S. Geological Survey Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

In addition to regional monitoring, UUSS is building, maintaining, and operating a seismic network local to Utah FORGE. The primary goal of this network is seismic hazard monitoring. The complete network will consist of six stations located on the surface in carefully designed vaults, six stations in shallow boreholes, one deeper borehole, and three accelerometers located close to structures. Data from these instruments are sent back to UUSS in real-time. Once all stations are installed, over 2 GB of data will be collected and processed each day.

This data feeds into an automatic processing system that detects and locates earthquakes. For larger earthquakes, maps of ground shaking are generated, and alarms are sent for rapid review to seismologists who are on call 24 hours a day. All earthquakes are reviewed by seismic analysts and posted to the web.

To complement the local network, UUSS has deployed dense arrays of temporary geophones at times of stimulation to help better constrain the background seismicity and seismic velocity structure. The data from these deployments contributes to special studies. In one study, UUSS mapped the shallow shear-wave velocity structure of Utah FORGE and the surrounding area, and in another study, new algorithms were developed for detecting very small magnitude events from the stimulation process.


Find out more about other Utah FORGE team and partners HERE

Partner Spotlight — Geo-Energie Suisse

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Geo-Energie Suisse AG (GES) is a Swiss company focused on deep geothermal energy for electricity and heat production. The founding members include municipal utilities and regional energy supply companies from all over Switzerland. Geo-Energie Suisse employs ten people, and it is also supported by numerous external specialists.

The company aims to develop deep EGS projects in crystalline rocks through the use of multi-stage stimulation to increase the permeability of the rock while reducing the seismic risk. Haute-Sorne is the company’s most advanced project in Switzerland. Its setting shows many similarities with the Utah FORGE project, which makes the collaboration with the University of Utah-based team particularly exciting.

Geo-Energie Suisse core competencies reside in seismic risk assessments, seismic monitoring and real time seismic data processing and evaluation. At Utah FORGE, GES intends to test and validate new methods and downhole instruments and bring them to the next level of innovation. GES is also assisting in the design of the seismic monitoring program, as well as conducting numerical analyses of the seismic data.

The figure shows the results of resolution and sensitivity numerical modelling performed by GES to assess the optimal configuration of monitoring boreholes and sensors at Utah FORGE. Section-view (left) and map-view (right) of the monitoring boreholes and the first of two deep, highly deviated wells (16A(78)-32) that will be used to create the reservoir.

At the end of 2020, Geo-Energie Suisse succeeded in obtaining technical proof of its multi-stage stimulation concept. The successful demonstration took place in the Bedretto Underground laboratory for Geosciences and Geoenergy of the ETH Zurich in the Swiss Alps. Innovative sensors, measurement and control techniques were tested for the first time and enabled the observation and control of the hydraulic stimulations. These techniques increase safety when creating geothermal reservoirs in crystalline rock. In addition, a seismicity forecasting method, developed by ETH Zurich, was also successfully implemented in the demonstration project. GES will now validate the findings gained in the Bedretto Laboratory at the Utah FORGE test site in the high-temperature range.

This figure shows the spatial distribution of the microseismicity that occurred in 10 temporally staggered intervals and spatially isolated stimulation zones leading to permanent microcracks in the granite rock.

The stimulations were carried out by Geo-Energie Suisse AG in the Bedretto Laboratory of ETH Zurich in November and December 2020. © Geo-Energie Suisse. More pictures and videos here

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy supports the deep geothermal project in Haute-Sorne and especially the innovations that will substantially reduce the risk of induced seismicity for deep EGS projects. The Swiss, Utah FORGE and the international geothermal industry will be well served by such improvements in safety and the success of future EGS projects. (French/German)

Partner Spotlight – Itasca

Itasca Consulting Group Inc. is a global, employee-owned, engineering consulting and software firm, focusing on geomechanical and hydrogeological projects.

3DEC model of a geothermal site showing shear displacements along existing fractures and synthetic (predicted) microseismicity.


Led by Principal Engineer Dr. Branko Damjanac, the team brings deep experience in solving complex problems in mining, civil, energy, and materials engineering and is excited to be collaborating with Utah FORGE.

Itasca's consultants solve complex problems in mining, civil, energy, and materials engineering. The company combines practical engineering and field experience with expert knowledge of advanced numerical simulation and analysis. Itasca’s software (3DEC, FLAC, FLAC3D, Griddle, MINEDW, PFC, UDEC, and XSite) are highly respected and widely used. For geothermal engineering, Itasca provides analysis using advanced numerical modeling tools for predicting the evolution of fractures, thermal and stress changes, and induced microseismicity.

Itasca combines practical engineering and field experience with expert knowledge of advanced numerical simulation and analysis.

  • Full-physics stimulation sensitivity numerical 2d and 3D modeling
  • Stimulation scenario development and evaluation
  • Stimulation plan preparation
  • Discrete stimulation numerical modeling
  • Production coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical numerical modeling
  • Experiment evaluation and verification

XSite model of fracture growth from five perforation clusters sequentially stimulated, showing stress interference between the fractures. The plot shows fracture apertures. The insert shows the histories of injection pressures during the simulation.

Partner Spotlight – Jim Rutledge

Jim Rutledge is part of the Utah FORGE seismic monitoring team lead by Dr. Kristine Pankow at the University of Utah. He brings to the Team an expertise in downhole seismic instrumentation and the monitoring of reservoir microseismicity induced during injection stimulations.

An Enhanced Geothermal reservoir is created and or enhanced through a series of high-pressure injections to fracture, stimulate and connect natural fractures in the host rock. Such a fracture system provides the permeability and surface area required to circulate fluids for mining the earth’s heat. Detecting and locating the resulting microseismicity is the chief diagnostic used to map and monitor the development of that fracture system. In addition to obtaining the basic geometry of the stimulated fracture volume and its temporal growth, geomechanical information can be gleaned from source mechanism results, describing the fracture orientation and sense of displacement that generated the seismic signal.

Jim was employed as an Industry Advisor with Schlumberger’s Microseismic Services for the last 8 years before recently partnering with the FORGE team. At Schlumberger he worked primarily on the interpretation of moment tensor inversion in understanding the basic relationship between fracture propagation and generation of the microseismic signal. He spent most of his career, from 1984 to 2012, as a staff seismologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 2004 to 2012 he also worked as a consultant for Schlumberger Cambridge Research. He received a BS in Geology from Pennsylvania State University and an MS in Geophysics from the University of Arizona. Starting in 1989, Jim has led and participated in several studies that demonstrated the uses of microseismic monitoring in oil, gas and geothermal fields for various applications including: hydraulic fracture monitoring, EOR monitoring, production-induced seismicity, subsidence and well-failure problems, gas storage, as well as subsurface CO2 sequestration. He is widely published on the topic of downhole seismic monitoring and interpretation.

An example of microseismic source locations from numerous injection stimulation stages in map view (left) and the population of source mechanisms for the stage 7 events (right). The lateral completion well is shown red.

Partner Spotlight – GRG

Geothermal Resource Group (GRG) is a geothermal resource and engineering consulting company that has provided consulting engineering and on-site management services in over 16 countries and at over 95 geothermal development projects worldwide. They have been a partner in the FORGE Utah project since the beginning, providing technical and design advice, and planning and supervision in the drilling of all deep wells, including 58-32, 68-32 and 78-32. They are currently working on the design of the first deep deviated well which will commence later this year.

GRG plays a critical role in the management, organization and running of a range of pre- and post-drilling and stimulation activities to ensure that project managers, contractors, and researchers are well informed of scheduling and onsite activities. A key goal is to ensure that everyone involved is fully briefed on the operations so that all tasks are executed to the highest professional and technical standard an in a timely manner that keep the project on schedule and within budget.

In Phase 3, GRG is working within the drilling team to specify the materials needed for the planned deep, highly deviated, injection well that represents one of the pillars of the Utah FORGE research facility. This involves many considerations that are not typical to conventional geothermal wells. In addition, specifications are being prepared for the drilling of additional seismic monitoring holes, as are plans for supervision of field activities later this year.

GRG’s involvement with Utah FORGE is led by Principal Drilling Engineer Bill Rickard, Senior Engineer Ernesto Rivas, and Geologist Mary Mann. GRG brings with them many decades of cutting edge expertise hard granite drilling technology, and they were instrumental in the drilling and completion of deep wells at Newberry and Raft River. GRG is excited to be a part of the Utah FORGE project and looks forward to ensuring continued drilling successes.