Blue Mountain Geothermal Area

The Blue Mountain geothermal area, located in central Humboldt County, Nevada, was originally explored for gold potential. High temperatures were noted during exploratory drilling, and as a result, the area has been examined for geothermal potential from the late 1990s to present.

Nevada Geothermal Power and its wholly owned subsidiary, Noramex Corporation, are actively exploring and developing the area; Nevada Geothermal Power holds the geothermal leases to 7,680 acres of the area.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), under the Geothermal Resource Exploration and Definition II (GRED II) program, awarded Noramex Corporation a grant of $659,000, with Noramex to provide $164,000 in cost share, to assist in drilling projects to determine feasibility.

The Observation Well Deep Blue No. 1, drilled to 2,205 feet, recorded temperatures of 293F at 2,115 feet in a 1,200 foot geothermal zone of high permeability rock in the highest temperature portion of the well. The Observation Well Deep Blue No. 2 was drilled to 3,700 feet and recorded a high temperature of 333 F at 1,900 feet and a geothermal zone from 656 to 1,920 feet with temperatures between 302 and 320F. This well has since been deepened to 4,993 feet and successfully injection tested. Results indicate the geothermal zone is fed by a deeper and probably higher temperature resource, perhaps a high temperature (392 to 464F) reservoir at about 4,920 to 6,560 feet. Three 13-inch production test wells to better define production capacity and reservoir response are planned. One of these wells will probably go deeper than the Deep Blue No. 2 (4,500-5,900 feet) to explore for a higher temperature resource at depth. If successful, these test wells will be converted to production wells for a power plant. Additionally, Noramex Corporation has applied for and received fifteen geothermal well drilling permits for a series of 500-foot thermal gradient test wells in the Blue Mountain area.

Data from the drilling projects and results from earlier exploration data indicate that a 30-MW geothermal power plant is feasible at Blue Mountain; further, with continued resource exploration and development the area may have a production capacity of more than 100 MW.

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