The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has approved a $365,000 grant for geothermal energy research in Beaver County.
The project is also receiving $140 million from the Federal Department of Energy and experts from the University of Utah will be conducting the research.
After three years of planning, site characterization, and competition Ben Hart, the deputy of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said the proposed site outside of Milford, Utah, has been selected as the location of the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy or FORGE. This new FORGE site is dedicated to research on enhanced geothermal systems.
“With project FORGE we have is an opportunity to harness the power of the Federal Department of Energy and $140 million grant and bring that to Beaver County and try and not only create jobs but economic growth and vitality for generations to come,” Hart said.
The goal for the Department of Economic Development is to create jobs in rural Utah, according to Hart.
“The reality is that even one job in a rural county can have the impact of what 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 jobs would have here along the Wasatch Front,” Hart said. “We go to great lengths to do what we can to support job growth in rural communities.”
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.
“We hope that leads to the creation and development of new homes, people who want to do more eating out or whatever it might be,” Hart said. “There’s a multiplier effect that ripples through the economy and helps all people in the area to experience some kind of economic opportunity and vitality because of this project.”
The land used for the project is on School and Institutional Trust lands, but some research is expected to expand to private and BLM lands. Hart said the land had to meet specific requirement including environmental protection qualifications.
Hart said the project is receiving positive feedback from the Beaver County community.