Northwest Renewable News

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Geothermal possible at Newberry Crater in Ore. August 31, 2009

Update on the quest for geothermal power at Newberry volcano. Information provided by Davenport Power LLC, operator of the project.

Review of 2008 Exploration

After drilling two deep exploratory wells (10,060 and 11,600 feet respectively), the Newberry Geothermal Project, operated by Davenport Power LLC, found very high levels of heat in both wells, but little commercially viable resource – neither hot water nor steam. During the past months, Project geologists and scientists evaluated data from these wells along with previously gathered information. This time-consuming process is normal in development of geothermal resource projects. The three pads and two wells the Newberry Project constructed last year remain in place and will continue to be maintained and utilized in exploration activities.

Surface Geophysical Surveys

The Newberry Project team has begun implementation of the next exploration phase on Newberry Geothermal Project’s BLM-leases (Bureau of Land Management). Planned surface geophysical work will collect data to assist in understanding the nature and geology of Newberry Volcano. This geophysical work consists of a series of gravity surveys and magnetotelluric surveys.

This surface work will be non-invasive and low-impact in nature. It will occur on geothermal lease holdings on the western flanks of Newberry Volcano. The planned geophysical data gathering is similar to that which was approved by the BLM and Forest Service (FS) in 2006. This work is anticipated to start in 2010.

Temperature Gradient Holes

The Newberry Geothermal Project also is proposing a series of small, slim diameter temperature gradient holes. These would be drilled up to 3,500 feet deep, at up to twelve locations outside the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, along the Volcano’s western flanks. In addition to gathering temperature data, the purpose is to conduct passive-seismic monitoring of subsurface conditions.

None of these temperature gradient holes are expected to be used to locate geothermal water or steam. Furthermore, it would not be possible to do so with the size and depth of the holes to be drilled. These holes are another method of exploration to further scientists and geologists understanding of the subsurface geology in this part of Newberry Volcano.

The twelve proposed low profile drilling sites are in a north-south axis along the western flanks of Newberry Volcano. One site utilizes our existing Newberry Geothermal Project well pad. These passive-seismic sites would be approximately 100 feet x 100 feet in size along existing FS roads, and/or at previously logged areas. Drilling would be done with a truck-mounted drilling rig producing a slim core hole and minimal residue.

The proposed temperature gradient drilling activity, must be approved by the BLM (Prineville Office) through an Environmental Assessment (EA), pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The assessment of these activities will be conducted by the BLM and the Forest Service (Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District). The EA completion is expected by early 2010. The goal of the Newberry Geothermal Project is to initiate field exploration activities in the Spring, 2010.

The Newberry Geothermal Project and Davenport are excited about this next stage of the rigorous and lengthy ‘Newberry Geothermal Exploration Phase’ on our leases at Newberry Volcano. “Achieving our goal of utilizing Newberry’s tremendous geothermal energy potential to produce renewable, clean electricity remains the focus of our efforts,” stated Doug Perry, President of Newberry Geothermal Project.

KODH (TV, Bend, OR) –


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