New River Geothermal Research Project, Imperial Valley, California Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title New River Geothermal Research Project, Imperial Valley, California
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Geothermal Technologies Program
Project Type / Topic 2 Validation of Innovative Exploration Technologies
Project Description Current models for the tectonic evolution of the Salton Trough provide a refined geologic model to be tested within the New River system and subsequently applied to additional rift dominated settings. Specific concepts to be included in model development include: rifting as expressed by the Brawley Seismic zone setting, northwest extensional migration, detachment faulting and a zone of tectonic subsidence as defining permeability zones; and evaluation and signature identification of diabase dike systems. Lateral continuous permeable sand units will be demonstrated through integration of existing well records with results of drilling new wells in the area.
State California
Objectives Demonstration of an innovative blend of modern tectonic research applied to the Imperial Valley with a proprietary compilation of existing thermal and drilling data. The developed geologic model will guide the targeting of two test wells and the identification of permeable zones capable of commercial geothermal power production.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Ram Power, Inc.
Awardee Website

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000109
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $5,000,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $9,339,420.00
Total Project Cost $14,339,420.00

Principal Investigator(s) Stuart Johnson

Location of Project Imperial Valley, CA
About the Area The shallow New River thermal system, in Imperial County, California, is an area over 6 square miles with up to 14 oF/100’ shallow temperature gradient and a deep thermal system of hypersaline brines with temperatures near 570 oF at depths defined by deep test wells below 10,000’ in four deep tests.

Impacts Proof of a new tectonic theory for the Imperial Valley.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs