Friday, February 5, 2016

USA, Texas: More than 2,500 MW of Geothermal Energy Possible in Big Oil Backyard

Door closes for oil, window opens for geothermal (The Business Journal)

GRC Members James Jackson, left, and Bruce Cutright with Thermal Energy Partners
(Courtesy Carlos Javier Sanchez)
In today's print edition of the San Antonio Business Journal, we used the whole Energy Inc. (subscription required) page to focus on one issue: geothermal power.

For those who may not be familiar with geothermal, it is an environmentally friendly source of power that uses super-heated water from highly pressurized reservoirs 12,000 feet underground to create steam and move a turbine. The process generates electricity with no carbon emissions and because the water can be injected back into the ground, it can run in a constant loop.

Due to high drilling costs, geothermal was always considered far too expensive to be a commercially viable source of power, but that might be changing under current energy market conditions. As many readers know, $30 per barrel oil is causing layoffs and a lot of pain in the state's petroleum industry, but one energy sector's heartache might be be another one's opportunity.

With state-of-the-art rigs idled across the state, 13-year low crude oil prices have substantially slashed drilling prices. Because drilling is the number one expense for geothermal projects, energy entrepreneurs like Thermal Energy Partners CEO Bruce Cutright - a GRC Member - are hoping that 2016 will be a "breakout year" for geothermal.

Geological maps reveal that the best places in Texas for geothermal are located along the Gulf Coast and south of San Antonio where there is the potential to generate more than 2,500 megawatts of clean power.

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