ARKANSAS, Oct 27 (Future Headlines)- The Presidio Municipal Development District (PMDD) has embarked on a promising initiative to explore sustainable energy options with the University of Texas at Austin. The PMDD recently authorized a contract to conduct a geothermal feasibility study near the Rio Grande in Presidio County, Texas. This endeavor was made possible through the allocation of $15,000 in funding, a development we previously reported on a few months ago.
The feasibility study is anticipated to span six to eight months, culminating in crucial insights to determine the site’s potential for geothermal resource development.
Dr. Ken Wisian, a distinguished geophysicist representing the University of Texas at Austin, introduced the concept of harnessing geothermal energy to the Presidio County Commissioners Court in June. His proposition garnered the endorsement of Trey Gerfers, the general manager of the Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District.
What adds significance to Dr. Wisian’s involvement in this project is his role as one of the principal authors of a groundbreaking study titled “The Future of Geothermal in Texas: The Coming Century of Growth & Prosperity in the Lone Star State.” This extensive report is the result of a multi-year, multi-disciplinary collaboration among various research institutions across the state of Texas.
Board Secretary Lizette Rohana offered clarification that the contractual agreement was forged between the PMDD and the University of Texas at Austin as an institution, not as an individual initiative by Dr. Wisian. The arrangement paves the way for other universities to potentially contribute to the research.
Dr. Wisian, during his presentation to the PMDD in July, pinpointed an area near the river as having the highest geothermal potential in the region. However, he emphasized that an exact location could only be determined through a comprehensive study. It is anticipated that geothermal resources will be found at a depth of approximately 6.5 kilometers beneath the earth’s surface. Establishing a geothermal facility in this region is estimated to cost between $10 and $13 million.
A particularly noteworthy aspect of this initiative is its potential alignment with grant funding opportunities. Dr. Wisian believes that a local clean energy project in Presidio County presents a compelling case for grant funding, given the county’s status as a low-income border region.
Despite the element of financial risk involved in funding this project, Secretary Rohana expressed the board’s readiness to take this gamble. There is a sense of cautious optimism surrounding this endeavor, primarily due to the promising results of previous studies conducted by the university.
In summary, the Presidio County community is taking a significant step towards sustainable energy by exploring the potential of geothermal resources. Driven by collaboration between the PMDD, the University of Texas at Austin, and other potential research institutions, this feasibility study has the potential to usher in a new era of clean and renewable energy in this region. The successful completion of the study and the subsequent project could not only contribute to sustainable energy but also open doors to grant funding opportunities, benefiting both the local economy and the environment. While it carries some financial risk, the optimism surrounding the project’s prospects is a testament to the region’s commitment to a more sustainable future.
Writing by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White