A Case for SuperHot Rock Geothermal

Date and Time
October 22, 2020 03:45 PM (PDT)–04:45 PM (PDT)
Superhot Rock (SHR) geothermal resource are those where reservoir conditions exceed the supercritical point of water. These resources can be found in regions with natural permeability, such as above magma chambers, or created using EGS techniques. The promise of these resources is that one well accessing a reservoir at these temperatures can produce 5-10 times the energy than a conventional geothermal well. Using technology that is either available today or near deployment, these resources can be developed for much lower cost than conventional geothermal resources, enabling them to compete with solar, wind and gas generation. Analysis of a resource found at Newberry Caldera, has determined that an LCOE of $31/MWh is possible. This analysis includes using EGS technologies to create permeability at depth. This implies that these resources can be built affordable and at considerable scale, given that natural system will not have to be targeted for these systems to be economic. In the next 10-20 years the electricity market will change considerably due to electrification of the transportation sector and new RPS targets. The geothermal industry is uniquely suited to capitalize on these changing dynamics but will likely need to pursue superhot resources in order grow at the scale required by future demand.
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