Meet the Geothermal Energy Center’s new director: Bridget Ayling took over the director position at the GBCGE last spring


News from Nevada Today
Article by Michael Olinger, Nevada Today, 1/3/2017

“The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy got a new director last spring, and she travelled a long road to get to her new post.

Bridget Ayling was born in New Zealand. She has worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Antarctica.

“I think I’ve been really lucky to travel to some amazing places just through my job, you know, and get to some pretty rugged places to do science,” Ayling said. “Everywhere you go, every country you go to, it’s a new landscape.”Bridget Ayling

The high desert of the Great Basin is the latest landscape to welcome Ayling, who has been interested in geology from a young age. Early fascination with limestone rocks and the fossils contained therein was met with encouragement by her parents, who fostered it with the gift of numerous books.

Ayling has spent over a decade working in the geothermal energy sector, most of that time for the Australian government. After dabbling briefly in the oil and gas industries, she saw the post at the GBCGE as a unique chance to get back into the geothermal work that she loves.

“Nevada is a state that has many geothermal resources,” Ayling said. “We’re really richly endowed with geothermal.”

Since her arrival at the University, Ayling has been hard at work on a number of projects, such as reviving the National Geothermal Academy, which operated on campus from 2011 to 2014 before going dormant for the last two years. The academy is a summer program where students spend time studying drilling and reservoir engineering for geothermal energy. She is also a member of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Additionally, Ayling has been working on the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (or FORGE) project, a Department of Energy initiative seeking to develop a field test site for geothermal system technology development and testing. A site in Fallon was one of five potential test sites initially chosen by the DOE, who narrowed their options to two in September, with Fallon being one of those sites. Ayling and the GBCGE are currently waiting to see if their site is the one ultimately chosen by the DOE.

As of the fall semester, Ayling has not taught any classes, but that is set to change in the spring. Ayling’s class, Geology 407/607, will focus on Earth’s energy resources. She describes it as “a pretty ‘big picture’ course.”

She is also working to set up her own independent research that will shape the center.

“It takes time to build a team and have visions for what it can be in the future,” Ayling said. “It’s going to take time to realize that and actually get the funding to support it. It’s fairly small, and my key areas so far have been doing a fair bit of outreach, so doing talks at public forums, like the Geological Society of Nevada. I’ve talked up at the Desert Research Institute. Conference talks, that kind of thing. So, a bit of outreach to raise awareness that we have a center. It exists, and I’m here, and hopefully going to take it to some pretty cool places.”

University research professor Jim Faulds, a colleague of Ayling, is very happy about the work that she has done so far, and the work that lays ahead.

“She has hit the ground running at the University and is already pursuing many new opportunities in geothermal research that will earn enormous rewards for the state and Great Basin region,” Faulds said.

Ayling shares Faulds’ enthusiasm.

“The Great Basin Center is an exciting place to be,” she said. “I think to be here in Reno and to be director of the center is great.”

The Nevada Mineral Industry 2014—just released!


Title: The Nevada Mineral Industry 2014
Authors: John L. Muntean, David A. Davis, and Lisa Shevenell
Year: 2016
Series: Mineral Industry MI-2014
Format: 171 pages, includes color

Starting in 1979, NBMG has issued annual reports that describe mineral and geothermal activities and accomplishments in Nevada, and include statistics of known gold and silver deposits.

This report describes mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal activities and accomplishments in Nevada in 2014: production statistics, exploration and development including drilling for petroleum and geothermal resources, discoveries of orebodies, new mines opened, and expansion and other activities of existing mines. Statistics of known gold and silver deposits, and directories of mines and mills are included.

Free download:

Click here for previous editions.

Outdoor Nevada on PBS—Jim Faulds on Geothermal Activity, March 23, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.


The Outdoor Nevada episode airing on March 23, 2016 on the Las Vegas PBS station will feature geothermal activity in Nevada, with segments on both the geology and biology of these systems.

NBMG Director and State Geologist Dr. Jim Faulds will team with UNLV microbiologist Dr. Brian Hedlund[] for this presentation.

You can watch this episode Wednesday March 23 at 7:30 p.m. on Vegas PBS Channel 10. In the next couple of months, the show will air on KNPB for northern Nevada as well.

The link will be available on their website the day the show broadcasts. We will also send that link in our next email.

Outdoor Nevada website:[]

“Hosted by highly regarded television host and actor John Burke, Outdoor Nevada will delve into the Silver State’s natural history and present-day happenings as experts discuss awe-inspiring discoveries in one of the planet’s most unique and often extreme environments.”

Past episodes of Outdoor Nevada:[][]

Nevada Today Article—Cutting-Edge Geothermal Research at UNR

Forging new geothermal resources through research: U.S. Department of Energy project calls on University expertise in geologic modeling and geothermal exploration

8/5/2015 – By: John Seelmeyer, Nevada Today

RENO, Nev. – Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno are poised to play a key role in a project that holds the potential to unlock massive new resources of power generated from geothermal sources.

The project dubbed “FORGE” – short for Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy – seeks to dramatically widen the number of potential locations where power could be produced from geothermal resources. University professors Jim Faulds and Wendy Calvin, among the world’s leaders in the understanding of geothermal systems, are providing their expertise to the project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Researchers from the University will provide geologic modeling of two potential FORGE sites – one near Fallon and a second near Coso, California. This geologic modeling is critically important to the FORGE project, Faulds, director of the University’s Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, explained. “The feasibility studies will help determine where best to establish the FORGE project.”

The establishment of FORGE at these two sites will provide the geothermal community a field laboratory where the science and engineering needed for widespread commercialization of EGS, enhanced geothermal systems, can be developed and refined.

Traditionally, geothermal power plants have been built at locations where they could tap into a naturally occurring source of steam heated under the earth’s surface. After the hot water is used to generate power, it is re-injected back into the earth and re-heated to be used again and again.

The FORGE project, however, seeks to develop enhanced geothermal technology for use at locations where heat is available but water doesn’t naturally flow through the underground rock. Those locations are widespread through the Great Basin.

“The potential is enormous,” Faulds said. The Department of Energy, which is funding the FORGE program, estimates that enhanced geothermal systems could power 100 million homes in American with clean and renewable energy.

But the geological challenges are difficult, he said, because researchers need to find ways to open formations sufficiently so that water can move through the heated rock and become steam to drive generating units.

“We know that there are huge resources in the subsurface,” the geologist said. “Finding that fluid flow is the trickiest part.”

The researchers based in the University’s College of Science bring valuable experience to the FORGE team: experience that will make that job easier.

“We have a long history of working with the geothermal systems in the region and understanding the geologic setting of those systems,” Faulds said.

Participation in the FORGE project provides an opportunity for University researchers to widen their knowledge of geothermal operations and maintain the state’s position on the cutting edge of development of the geothermal industry.

“FORGE will lay the groundwork for new methods, expand our exploration from surface to the subsurface and allow us to include new projects in reservoir modeling and 3D data synthesis,” said Calvin, a professor in geophysics and remote sensing who serves as director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy [] headquartered at the University.

The program also draws the spotlight to other University research.

“The FORGE project offers the University and the State of Nevada a huge opportunity to showcase our cutting-edge research capability in enhanced geothermal systems,” said Mridul Gautam, the University’s vice president for research and innovation. “I thank the Department of Energy for recognizing the leadership and commitment demonstrated by this University and the state to advanced research and development of clean-energy technologies, in general, and geothermal energy, in particular.”

The two FORGE projects in which the University was selected to participate are among five sites under analysis that will share $2 million in Department of Energy funding.

In this first phase of the project, researchers will examine the feasibility of each of the five sites. Up to three of the sites then will be selected for further research, totaling up to $29 million, during the next two years. From that second phase work, one site will be selected for FORGE research and development.

Sandia National Laboratories is leading both FORGE research teams in which the University is participating. Other key partners in both the Fallon and Coso research include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey, GeothermEx/Schlumberger, the U.S. Navy and Itasca Consulting Group.

In the Fallon project, Ormat Nevada, Inc. of Reno is a key partner. In the Coso project, the Coso Operating Company LLC is a key partner.

PHOTO CUTLINE [see link to Nevada Today article above]: Director of the Nevada Bureau of Nevada Mines and Geology Jim Faulds talks about mapping geothermal resources with students. Faulds is leading the University of Nevada, Reno efforts in the recently funded Department of Energy FORGE project to identify a site to develop enhanced geothermal systems. Photo courtesy of University of Nevada, Reno.

Founded in 1874 as Nevada’s land-grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities by U.S. News and World Report. With nearly 20,000 students, the University is driven to contribute a culture of student success, world-improving research and outreach that enhances communities and business. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. Bringing outreach and education programs to all Nevada counties and home to one of the largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Mike Wolterbeek
Communications Officer
University of Nevada, Reno/108
Reno, NV 89557
Media newsroom:

Nevada Mineral Industry 2013 now available!


Title: The Nevada mineral industry 2013
John L. Muntean, David A. Davis, Lisa Shevenell, and Alexandra Reid
Year: 2015
Series: Mineral Industry MI-2013
Format: 158 pages, includes color

Starting in 1979, NBMG has issued annual reports that describe mineral and geothermal activities and accomplishments in Nevada, and include statistics of known gold and silver deposits. This report describes mineral, oil and gas, and geothermal activities and accomplishments in Nevada in 2013: production statistics, exploration and development including drilling for petroleum and geothermal resources, discoveries of orebodies, new mines opened, and expansion and other activities of existing mines. Statistics of known gold and silver deposits, and directories of mines and mills are included.

View or purchase MI-2013 here:

New geologic map: Emerson Pass geothermal area, Washoe County

Open-File Report 13-10 (second edition)

Preliminary geologic map of the central Lake Range, southern Fox Range, and northern Terraced Hills, Emerson Pass geothermal area, Washoe County, Nevada, by Ryan B. Anderson, James E. Faulds, and Gregory M. Dering, 2014


Detailed geologic mapping and stratigraphic-structural analyses have elucidated the kinematics, stress state, and structural controls of a “blind” geothermal system in Emerson Pass on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation, western Nevada. The Emerson Pass area resides near the boundary of the Basin and Range and Walker Lane provinces of northwestern Nevada, at the northeast end of Pyramid Lake. Strata of the surrounding Fox Range, Lake Range, and Terraced Hills are comprised of late Miocene to Pliocene sedimentary rocks and the middle Miocene Pyramid sequence volcanic rocks, all overlying Cretaceous intrusions and Triassic to Jurassic metasedimentary rocks.

The active geothermal system is expressed as a 2-m shallow temperature thermal anomaly (maximum ∼60°C) that lies at the western edge of a broad left step at the northeast end of Pyramid Lake between the north- to north-northeast-striking, west-dipping, Fox and Lake Range normal faults. The 2-m temperature surveys have defined a north-south elongate thermal anomaly that resides on a north- to north-northeast-striking normal fault. Additionally, travertine mounds, chalcedonic silica veins, and silica-cemented Pleistocene lacustrine gravels in Emerson Pass indicate a robust geothermal system active at the surface in the recent past, likely the early Holocene. Structural complexity and spatial heterogeneities of the strain and stress field have developed in the step-over region, but kinematic data suggest a west-northwest-trending (∼280° azimuth) extension direction. The geothermal system is likely hosted in Emerson Pass as a result of enhanced permeability generated by the intersection of two oppositely dipping, southward- terminating north- to north-northwest-striking (Fox Range fault) and north-northeast-striking normal faults.

This publication was prepared with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. We thank the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation for access to tribal lands and logistical support throughout the project.

Geochronologic data (several 40Ar/39Ar dates) were added to this second edition.

Open-File Report 13-10 (second edition, 2014) supersedes the first edition (2013).

Open-File Report 13-10 (second edition), one color plate with 3 cross sections, 51.5 x 39.5 inches, scale 1:24,000; inset map, scale 1:8,000; 10-page text, b/w, $22.00 for paper copy—or free on the Web:

Nevada Petroleum & Geothermal Society Dinner Meeting: Thursday, November 6, 2014

A note from NPGS: Come and join us Thursday evening, November 6th, at the Ramada located at 1000 East 6th Street, Reno, for a presentation by Bill Price, Head of Engineering at Enel Green Power North.

Speaker: Bill Price, Head of Engineering and Construction
Enel Green Power North America, Inc.

Topic: Enel’s Stillwater Hybrid Power Plant

Where: Ramada Reno Hotel; 6:30 PM
1000 East 6th Street, Reno, NV 89512
Cocktail Reception 6:30, Skyline Bar, 14th Floor

HOSTED BY: Barbour Well Inc., Oil and Geothermal Drilling Services

Dinner Served at 7:00 PM

NPGS Members $20; Non-Members $23; Students $10

Please RSVP by Wednesday Nov 5 with the following link:

Keep in mind that NPGS is charged for every meal that is reserved. If you cannot keep your reservation, please cancel prior to the meeting.

More information: William Price is the Vice President of Geothermal Engineering and Construction at Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGP-NA) responsible for the execution of geothermal projects in North America. He joined EGP-NA in 2007.

Mr. Price was the Project Manager for the construction and commissioning of the Stillwater and Salt Wells Geothermal Projects located in Fallon, Nevada, which were placed in service in 2009. Currently, he is leading the engineering and construction of solar projects integrated with EGP-NA’s geothermal facilities.

Mr. Price has 29 years of experience in the power industry, the past 23 specifically involved in geothermal business development, operations, maintenance, engineering and construction. He began his career in the U.S. Navy in 1982, and graduated at the top of his class in the Nuclear Power Program. After completing his government service, Mr. Price became involved with the Coso Geothermal Field and was part of the construction and operations team that expanded Coso from a 30 MW dual flash steam facility to a 240 MW project spread over four different sites. In 1992 he became the general manager of the 24 MW Steamboat Binary Geothermal Project.

Price is well known in the industry as the pioneer of geothermal submersible pump technology and advancements in binary technology.

Taken From: Company Organization Chart