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Geothermal startup Fervo Energy has begun delivering carbon-free electricity from its enhanced geothermal plant to Nevada’s power grid, supplying power to Google’s Cloud region in Las Vegas, the tech giant said on Nov. 28.
Fervo applied drilling techniques used in the oil and gas industry for the 3.5-megawatt Project Red, which reached vertical depths of about 8,000 ft and about 4,000 ft horizontally to harness heat.
The Houston-based company drilled a first-of-its-kind enhanced geothermal system horizontal double-well system with an injection and production well pair into a high-temperature, hard rock geothermal formation to capture heat. That heat is used to generate steam, which produces electricity. The process is also guided by real-time data on flow, temperature and performance gathered from fiber optic cables downhole.
“The result is a geothermal plant that can produce round-the-clock CFE [carbon-free energy] using less land than other clean energy sources and drawing on skills, knowledge, and supply chains that exist in other industries,” Google said. “From our early commitment to support the project’s development to its successful completion, we’ve worked closely with Fervo to overcome obstacles and prove that this technology can work.”
Google partnered with Fervo in 2021. The technology company aims to operate its data centers and office campuses on carbon-free energy by 2030. In September, the company also announced a partnership with Project Innerspace, an organization committed to advancing geothermal energy worldwide. Their efforts will include developing a global geothermal resource mapping and assessment tool.
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