Geothermal Having a Moment

May 6, 2021

Got a bit of a response from a bunch of smart folks the other day to a tweet about Geothermal.

Indeed.

Among the smart people I’ve spoken to recently, the word geothermal has been popping up more frequently.
The useful CNBC video above helps clarify some of the various flavors of the technology – but is kind of wide open on just how much of a player it could be.
Either a 10 – 20 percent solution, which could fill the gap after we build 80 plus percent solar and wind, thus competing with modular nuclear, or, some players insist, might be the whole ball game.

Biggest difference from a few years ago,

Below, Michael Webber of U. Texas is typical of the newer mentions I’ve been hearing.

One Response to “Geothermal Having a Moment”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Nerd note: For those technologies that entail pushing “clean” fluids through permeable rock (as opposed to the isolated heat-exchanger pipes), the fluid will pick up minerals as it flows through the rock. If it doesn’t pollute groundwater supplies, at least means requires a lot of maintenance and/or expensive corrosion-resistant plumbing up top. There are also always potential seismic events from pushing fault-lubricating fluids through rock.

    As for the high projections for how quickly geothermal can increase its presence (50%!), that sounds like ridiculous investment-pitch projections from people who don’t understand the delays involved in approving hookups to various public grids. My preliminary favorites are the pipe-enclosed heat exchangers (for the environmental factors) and the retrofit-old-sites model, for lower permitting costs.


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