Geothermal energy

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David MacKay discusses the potential for either sustainable or short term geothermal energy in Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air. MacKay concludes that in most parts of the world Geothermal energy provides only a very poor source of energy, but some locations such as Iceland have worthwhile hot-spot resources.

In an article "Geothermal energy is poised for a big breakout" in Vox (21 Oct 2020) David Roberts discusses geothermal technologies, including Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) which use drilling and fracturing technologies developed by the oil and gas industry to tap into deeper, higher temperature resources, and could potentially enable exploitation of geothermal energy in many more parts of the world than the few where current technology is viable.

New Zealand

Te Ahi O Maui geothermal ready to drill Gisborne Herald NZ; 28 Apr 2016

GISBORNE-based Eastland Group expects to encounter temperatures three times higher than the hottest surface temperature ever recorded on Earth when it drills into the Kawerau geothermal reservoir next month. Following years of planning, the $100m Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project to build a 20mW geothermal power plant 2.3km east of Kawerau is now ready to enter its first production well-drilling phase on land owned by the A8D Ahu Whenua Maori Trust. Te Ahi O Maui project panager Ben Gibson said site works were under way to prepare the well pads and a well-drilling rig would be transported on site later this month. A production well will start on May 10. The first stage of drilling, known as ‘‘spudding’’, will culminate in a 12cm-wide hole into the Kawerau geothermal reservoir. “Extensive field monitoring and computer-based modelling has shown we can expect the drilling equipment to pass through layers of varying substrates and pockets of incredibly hot geothermal steam and fluid, which could be between 200-350 degrees Celsius. “It’s this high-temperature fluid and steam that will ultimately fuel the geothermal power plant.

East Africa

How Kenya is harnessing geothermal energy to power its growing economy Amy Yee; Independent; 4 Mar 2018

Tapping into heat energy from the East African Rift has helped increase electrical access in Kenya. But making this widely available can be a struggle, and developers face environmental challenges with this seemingly green source of power


Heat energy beneath Glasgow British Geological Survey (BGS)

The BGS is working with Glasgow City Council to look into the use of heat energy from the ground to help to warm Glasgow's homes and communities.

Our studies are helping to identify which parts of the city would offer the best prospects of supplying this kind of energy; looking at the potential heat within minewaters, superficial deposits and bedrock aquifers beneath Glasgow.

This new source of energy could help Glasgow to meet government targets to ensure 11 per cent of heat demand comes from renewable sources by 2020.

It will also contribute to Glasgow's ambition, under the Sustainable Glasgow partnership, to become one of Europe's most sustainable cities within the next ten years. BGS expertise can help you find out more about the heat energy beneath Glasgow.


The Future of Geothermal Energy Idoho National Lab; Nov 2006

Impact of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on the United States in the 21st Century

Recent national focus on the value of increasing our supply of indigenous, renewable energy underscores the need for reevaluating all alternatives, particularly those that are large and well distributed nationally. This analysis will help determine how we can enlarge and diversify the portfolio of options we should be vigorously pursuing. One such option that is often ignored is geothermal energy, produced from both conventional hydrothermal and Enhanced (or engineered) Geothermal Systems (EGS). An 18-member assessment panel was assembled in September 2005 to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of EGS becoming a major supplier of primary energy for U.S. base-load generation capacity by 2050. This report documents the work of the panel at three separate levels of detail. The first is a Synopsis, which provides a brief overview of the scope, motivation, approach, major findings, and recommendations of the panel. At the second level, an Executive Summary reviews each component of the study, providing major results and findings. The third level provides full documentation in eight chapters, with each detailing the scope, approach, and results of the analysis and modeling conducted in each area.

MIT-led panel backs 'heat mining' as key U.S. energy source MIT News; 22 Jan 2007

A comprehensive new MIT-led study of the potential for geothermal energy within the United States has found that mining the huge amounts of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth's hard rock crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact.

An 18-member panel led by MIT prepared the 400-plus page study, titled "The Future of Geothermal Energy" (PDF, 14.1 MB). Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, it is the first study in some 30 years to take a new look at geothermal, an energy resource that has been largely ignored.

The goal of the study was to assess the feasibility, potential environmental impacts and economic viability of using enhanced geothermal system (EGS) technology to greatly increase the fraction of the U.S. geothermal resource that could be recovered commercially.

Although geothermal energy is produced commercially today and the United States is the world's biggest producer, existing U.S. plants have focused on the high-grade geothermal systems primarily located in isolated regions of the west. This new study takes a more ambitious look at this resource and evaluates its potential for much larger-scale deployment.