Thursday, October 1, 2015

Science & Technology: How EGS Could be a Game-Changer for Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy: Is New Technology Resetting the Agenda? (POWER magazine)

After years of stressing the conventional virtues of geothermal power production—reliable, baseload renewable energy from geological sources—the geothermal industry and the U.S. government are looking at ways technology can change the hot rocks game and give a boost to an often-overlooked resource.

Storm and Geothermal Power Plant, by Piyush Bakane, Reno, Nevada. Taken during the Don A Campbell-2 drilling operation, at ORMAT's Don A Campbell geothermal project, July 2015 (GRC Photo Contest 2015)
Legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who made a pile of money in information technology and computers, is making another big bet, on an advanced energy technology. This time he has put his money down on the application of advanced oil and gas technology to the promising but long-lagging field of geothermal energy.

Khosla is making a wager on geothermal because of its very different profile from the hot-shots in today’s renewables market, wind and solar. Unlike the sun and wind, geothermal energy offers round-the-clock generation. On top of that, the fundamental geological fact is that hot rocks are ubiquitous, although not always attractive for conventional geothermal technologies.