Technical Paper: Is EGS Commercially Feasible?

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Presentation Date: 2007
Download: Is EGS Commercially Feasible? (0.41 MB PDF)



This paper presents an evaluation of the cost of electric power from Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), that is, reservoirs with sub-commercial permeability enhanced by hydraulic stimulation. The parameters in this exercise reflect the conditions encountered at the Desert Peak EGS project in Nevada, but the results should be applicable, at least qualitatively, to any EGS project. The approach taken is to : 1) use numerical simulation to evaluate energy recovery versus time over an assumed 30-year project life for various system configurations (number and spacing of wells, assumptions about stimulation effectiveness, etc; 2) estimate the levelized power cost for each configuration, based on capital cost, O&M cost, the cost of money and inflation rate (using Monte Carlo sampling to address uncertainties); 3) determining the sensitivity of levelized cost to the cost components, interest and inflation rates, and resource characteristics (maximum practical pumping rate, reservoir characteristics, and the depth to the reservoir at the site); and 4) estimating future EGS costs and considering the possible technology improvements that could be made by that time.

Technical Paper from GRC Transactions, Vol. 31, 2007

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