The U is at the forefront of the renewable energy industry, and the Biden administration is taking note. Last February, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited the U as part of a post-State of the Union tour to highlight President Joe Biden’s energy and climate initiatives.
She came to learn about the Department of Energy-funded Utah FORGE project, which is designed to develop technology that can tap into the vast resource of geothermal energy without needing a hot spring, says Joseph Moore, principal investigator of Utah FORGE. The enhanced geothermal systems technology is currently being developed at an experimental site near Milford, Utah.
“We’re very excited to be watching the success of [Utah] FORGE,” says Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Mitzi Montoya. “We are very committed to continuing to support and invest in this project, because we know its importance as we continue to develop sources of renewable energy for the country.”
Granholm also toured the geothermal pump room at Carolyn and Kem Gardner Commons. The building is entirely heated and cooled by some 150 geothermal wells located under a nearby soccer field. The system saves the university over $60,000 annually in energy costs.
Following the tour, Granholm held a press conference at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, announcing up to $74 million for new pilot projects to advance enhanced geothermal systems.
“We are excited about a new, enhanced geothermal economy,” says Granholm. “And if we do this right, we will have another affordable, powerful, clean, dispatchable, baseload source of power for Utah and for the rest of the nation.”