Thursday, August 9, 2018

Finance: "There exists a vast and untapped technical potential for geothermal energy" - Project Drawdown

Project Drawdown on The Potential of Geothermal Energy

Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization and coalition of scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, and advocates from across the globe that is mapping, measuring, modeling, and communicating about a collective array of substantive solutions to global warming, with the goal of reaching drawdown.

There exists a vast and untapped technical potential for geothermal energy. Much of the initial development could take place in areas with lots of conventional, high-temperature hydrothermal resources that have yet to be developed, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Central and South America, and East Africa.

Large upfront costs  and the high risk of investing in geothermal power plants are two of the biggest barriers to the expansion of geothermal electricity. Drilling rig rates and associated costs often make up the largest cost component of geothermal plants, and there is a significantly high chance of failure in exploratory stages. Thus, many governments are setting targets for the development of high-temperature hydrothermal resources.

These goals could be aided through:

  • renewable portfolio standards requiring a certain amount of renewable energy use; 
  • a price on carbon; and 
  • guaranteed power purchase agreements or feed-in tariffs for developers to reliably recover development costs. 

A publicly accessible and continuously updated database of geothermal resources could also aid in exploration and cut down on production costs. There is also the need for technology research, development, and demonstration concerning enhanced geothermal systems power plants.

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