Benefits of Enhanced Geothermal Systems:
Cost Competitive Carbon-Free Electricity

  • Unlike intermittent renewable energy sources, EGS can supply carbon-free baseload energy and is able to load follow to firm intermittency, minimizing the need for costly energy storage.
     

  • Costs are competitive, projected by the EIA to be between 5-95₵ per kWh depending the depth of the resource. Deeper resources can be developed as research and development of the technology continues to lower costs for exploration, reservoir development and power plant operations. Drilling costs are currently low and will get lower as more wells are drilled.
     

  • Allows for combined heat and power (CHP) production, which improve the efficiency of these services. Many of the operating EGS projects in Germany provide both heat and power.
    *When multiple zones in one EGS reservoir can be stimulated the cost of EGS power can be cut in half or better. One injection well and two production wells producing power could be enhanced with multi-zone stimulation to produce 10-15 MW of power.
     

  • A five acre geothermal pad could accommodate the power plant and wells to produce 30-50 MW of electricity.
     

  • A 2006 study led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated that with suitable investments and improvements to existing technology, EGS could supply up to 10 percent of the country’s electricity needs within 50 years at prices competitive with fossil-fuel fired generation.
     

  • In 2008 the United States Geological Survey did a study that looked at only the western states and limited the depth of the resource to 6 km. This study “estimated 517,800 MWe could be generated through implementation of technology for creating geothermal reservoirs in regions characterized by high temperature, but low permeability, rock formations.” In other words, using EGS technology we could supply 50% of the power needed by the US now.

 

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