The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has approved an Industrial Assistance Fund, post-performance Economic Opportunity Grant for the amount of $365,000 for the Frontier Observatory for Research in the Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy. The project will create 23 new jobs with an average full-time wage of $94,000 per year and a capital investment of more than $100 million.
“This is a big win for renewable energy in a rural community and the state of Utah,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “A project that has been envisioned for years is now coming true. It will enhance the infrastructure for Beaver County and bring an unmatched capital investment to one of our rural communities.”
The grant was awarded to Beaver County for the assistance in the construction of infrastructure related to the project. The project was a top priority in Beaver County’s economic development plan recently presented to Gov. Gary R. Herbert.
“The challenge and opportunity in rural Utah is to find unique assets and capitalize on them. What looked like useless ground twenty years ago, is now home to a half a billion-dollar renewable energy asset we can hang our hat on” said Scott Albrecht, Beaver County economic development Director. “Beaver County is taking the lead on renewable energy. The FORGE project will take our renewable energy portfolio to a new level by placing our world-class assets on the world stage.”
The U.S. Department of Energy announced in June that Utah was to receive up to $140 million in funding across five years to build a first-of-its-kind research laboratory to advance next generation geothermal technologies.
The project is led by the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED), the Utah Geological Survey and other key agencies. FORGE provides a dedicated site where scientists and engineers are able to develop, test and accelerate breakthroughs in enhanced geothermal system technologies and techniques. Utah was the recipient of a $100 million grant to develop the research facility. Other parties will pay the remainder of the cost to take the line to the specific sites.
"FORGE is the realization of years of collaborative work and hundreds of OED staff hours in knitting together state and federal agencies to ensure Utah's success in securing an innovative national geothermal field laboratory," said Laura Nelson, the governor's energy advisor and executive director of OED. "We are pleased to see the outcomes for Utah's energy economy already expanding through this transmission line thanks to the unprecedented partnerships achieved under the vision and leadership of Gov. Herbert."