INL News Release
Aug. 17, 2015
Julie Ulrich, 208-520-1139,
Laura Scheele, 219-381-8672,

Idaho National Lab-led Snake River Geothermal Team welcomes Alaska’s Chena Power

IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO – Idaho National Laboratory announces that Chena Power, LLC, an Alaska-based company, has officially joined the Snake River Geothermal Consortium (SRGC) team. Chena Power is the first technical partner from outside the contiguous states and joins 17 other national laboratory, university and industry partners from states including Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.

“The practical experience that Chena brings to the team will be instrumental if our team is selected to move into Phase 2,” said Robert Podgorney, SRGC director and INL’s Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) Initiative director. “We need the kind of ingenuity that has gone into developing the power plant in Alaska, especially when it comes to demonstrating power generation at the later stages of FORGE.”

The INL-led SRGC was one of five teams recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to participate in the first phase of the FORGE initiative. In June 2016, DOE will announce the three sites and teams selected to participate in Phase 2.

The goal of FORGE is to refine and prove the Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) to bring it into the mainstream and provide industry with the confidence to invest in this promising technology. EGS has the potential to revolutionize the geothermal — and renewable energy — industries and greatly expand this source of clean, carbon-free baseload power.

The consortium is proposing to locate the nation’s first EGS test site on the western edge of INL’s 890-square-mile desert Site, in a renowned “hot spot” also home to the lab’s 40-square-mile Geothermal Resource Research Area.

Chena Power, LLC, officially joined the SRGC research team at the 10th Annual Renewable Energy Fair on Aug. 16. Among those at the announcement were Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan.

As the team moves forward developing plans to investigate the site, additional expertise is being sought to help in the effort. For this reason, the SRGC team established a partnership with Chena Power to help with late-stage plans for demonstrating power generation at the test facility.

Chena Power President Bernie Karl said Chena Power is looking forward to bringing its industrial knowledge and expertise to the Snake River FORGE team. “Knowledge isn’t good if it isn’t shared,” Karl said. “We have some of the best knowledge in the business, so why not share?”

INL is one of DOE’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the DOE strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

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