January 27, 2021

The forgotten green energy, geothermal energy, has finally arrived

2 min read

The Salton Sea, which is located in Southern California, has abundant renewable sources of energy, states Jason Czapla, a professional petroleum engineer. In the year 2023, CTR will begin producing its geothermal power plant, among the first United States geothermal power plants in nearly a decade, if California grants its authorization. Over the decades, despite having the most active geothermal reserves in the United States, California has expanded solar and wind power whereas overlooking geothermal plants. With climate limitations, geothermal energy is becoming relevant.

Temperatures in the Earth’s core are estimated to surpass that of the sun’s surface. Southern Methodist University researchers estimate that United States temperatures exceed 300 ° C, which is needed for electricity generation by the geothermal plant. In the year 1960, at The Geysers, which is located in northern California, the very first commercial geothermal facility in the US, was launched.  Other plants in Utah, Hawaii, Nevada as well as the Salton Sea in California were inspired by this. Originally, the steam reservoirs were depleted by the geothermal plants. Then came the process for binary plants. The average facility size was a bit small, but as Congress funded the technology during the crisis of the 1970s, capacity grew rapidly.

The geothermal alternative has been largely overlooked despite its immense potential for the United States. Nevertheless, it is essential to complement both with the wind and solar, particularly during peak times. California experienced its first power outages in almost 20 years on 14th August 2020, which disrupted its economy. There is a need to develop the nation’s most efficient electrical grid. By 2030, California plans to produce 60% of its energy from the renewable sources. The grid needs much more carbon-free electricity than is available on-demand to achieve that objective. Jesse Jenkins, a Princeton University energy systems engineer, reports that geothermal energy beats both nuclear and hydropower capacity.

When externalities are thrown in, geothermal is financially the cheapest. It takes just the right combination of rock as well as heat to produce geothermal energy, conditions that occur almost everywhere. Until the 1990s, when Australian engineers dug into much deeper rock than the EGS, the UK, Japan, as well as France attempted such ventures unsuccessfully. Huge EGS reservoirs have been successfully built by researchers since then. Many businesses are now providing superheated water with a regulated flow, producing electricity near commercial rates. Using these approaches, existing geothermal plants are seeing production increase.

Global geothermal output capacity is expected to increase from 16 gigawatts to about 24 GW within five years. If they can monetize this technology, CTR, as well as its rivals alike, stand to gain. However, the Breakthrough Institute claims that geothermal energy is not constrained by potential resources but by the cost of retrieving the technology. Public support that lowers costs is moving from traditional to improved geothermal requirements. Owing to its high geothermal reservoirs, large towns, plenty of power lines, as well as a legislative aim to reduce pollution, guaranteeing decades of requirements, California is strategic for CTR.


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