Unlocking the Geothermal Potential of the Great Basin Region, Western USA: Updates from Some Recent Research Projects
Bridget Ayling, Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno
The Great Basin region of the western USA is a world-class geothermal province, with substantial untapped resource potential. The current installed geothermal power generation capacity is over 1200 MWe (MegaWatts electric) with ~770 MWe of this in Nevada. Estimates from the USGS suggest there are more than 10,000 MWe of untapped potential from hydrothermal resources in the Great Basin region. To facilitate greater use of this renewable energy source, researchers at UNR are working to understand (1) where do these resources exist and why? (2) how do fluids circulate in geothermal systems? and 3) how can we improve our chances of discovering viable geothermal systems for power generation? In this talk, I’ll review our current understanding and latest research that aims to answer these pressing questions, including our efforts to develop improved exploration workflows (e.g.: the NV geothermal play fairway project, machine learning project, and the new INGENIOUS project) and new approaches for geothermal reservoir characterization and conceptual model development for hydrothermal systems in the region.
Bridget Ayling Biography: Bridget Ayling is an associate professor at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and is the director of UNR’s Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy. In this role, Dr. Ayling is responsible for developing research and education programs in the field of geothermal energy, overseeing research to understand the complexities of fluid flow in the upper crust and the implications of this for geothermal resource exploration and management, managing the public dissemination of geothermal datasets for the state of Nevada, and advising graduate students and post-doctoral scholars. Dr. Ayling’s research interests focus on geothermal exploration and reservoir characterization through use of geochemical datasets (aqueous geochemistry and tracer tests), mineralogical and rock property information, conceptual models, and well log datasets. She joined UNR in early 2016 after working at Geoscience Australia, the Australian Government’s geoscience agency, and the Energy and Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Dr. Ayling is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the International Geothermal Association, and on the Earth Resources standing committee for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She is also a proud advocate and member of Women in Geothermal (WING) – a global organization that exists to support the professional development and empowerment of women in the geothermal sector. Dr. Ayling holds a B.S. with honors in geology and physical geography from Victoria University of
Wellington, New Zealand. She received her Ph.D. in paleoclimate and environmental geochemistry from the Australian National University in 2006.
Due to the current pandemic and health safety requirements the in-person meetings are temporarily suspended until restrictions are lifted. To sign up for this Zoom meeting, please contact an AEG officer listed below.
Contact information for the 2020-2021 AEG Great Basin Chapter officers:
CHAIRPERSON: Merrily Graham
VICE CHAIRPERSON: Kelsey Sherrard
TREASURER: Chris Betts
SECRETARY: Kathleen Rodrigues