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Title: Geothermal Project Database Supporting Barriers and Viability Analysis for Development by 2020 Timeline

This data provides the underlying project-level analysis and data sources complied in response to the DOE request to determine the amount of geothermal capacity that could be available to meet the President's request to double renewable energy capacity by 2020. The enclosed data contains compiled data on individual project names and locations (by geothermal area and region), ownership, estimated nameplate capacity, and project status, and also contains inferred data on the barriers and viability of the project to meet a 2020 development timeline. The analysis of this data is discussed in the attached NREL report.
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Product Type:
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; National Renewable Energy Laboratory
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Program (EE-2C)
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; project development; capacity; barriers; viability
OSTI Identifier:
  1. The Geothermal Data Repository (GDR) is the submission point for all data collected from researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office (DOE GTO). The DOE GTO is providing access to its geothermal project information through the GDR. The GDR is powered by OpenEI, an energy information portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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  1. The US Geological Survey (USGS) resource assessment (Williams et al., 2009) outlined a mean 30GWe of undiscovered hydrothermal resource in the western US. One goal of the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) is to accelerate the development of this undiscovered resource. The Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP)more » Blue Ribbon Panel (GTO, 2011) recommended that DOE focus efforts on helping industry identify hidden geothermal resources to increase geothermal capacity in the near term. Increased exploration activity will produce more prospects, more discoveries, and more readily developable resources. Detailed exploration case studies akin to those found in oil and gas (e.g. Beaumont, et al, 1990) will give operators a single point of information to gather clean, unbiased information on which to build geothermal drilling prospects. To support this effort, the National Renewable Energy laboratory (NREL) has been working with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a template for geothermal case studies on the Geothermal Gateway on OpenEI. In fiscal year 2013, the template was developed and tested with two case studies: Raft River Geothermal Area ( and Coso Geothermal Area ( In fiscal year 2014, ten additional case studies were completed, and additional features were added to the template to allow for more data and the direct citations of data. The template allows for: Data - a variety of data can be collected for each area, including power production information, well field information, geologic information, reservoir information, and geochemistry information. Narratives ? general (e.g. area overview, history and infrastructure), technical (e.g. exploration history, well field description, R&D activities) and geologic narratives (e.g. area geology, hydrothermal system, heat source, geochemistry.) Exploration Activity Catalog - catalog of exploration activities conducted in the area (with dates and references.) NEPA Analysis ? a query of NEPA analyses conducted in the area (that have been catalogued in the OpenEI NEPA database.) In fiscal year 2015, NREL is working with universities to populate additional case studies on OpenEI. The goal is to provide a large enough dataset to start conducting analyses of exploration programs to identify correlations between successful exploration plans for areas with similar geologic occurrence models. « less
  2. To help guide its future data collection efforts, The DOE GTO funded a data gap analysis in FY2012 to identify high potential hydrothermal areas where critical data are needed. This analysis was updated in FY2013 and the resulting datasets are represented by this metadata. Themore » original process was published in FY 2012 and is available here: Though there are many types of data that can be used for hydrothermal exploration, five types of exploration data were targeted for this analysis. These data types were selected for their regional reconnaissance potential, and include many of the primary exploration techniques currently used by the geothermal industry. The data types include: 1. well data 2. geologic maps 3. fault maps 4. geochemistry data 5. geophysical data To determine data coverage, metadata for exploration data (including data type, data status, and coverage information) were collected and catalogued from nodes on the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS). It is the intention of this analysis that the data be updated from this source in a semi-automated fashion as new datasets are added to the NGDS nodes. In addition to this upload, an online tool was developed to allow all geothermal data providers to access this assessment and to directly add metadata themselves and view the results of the analysis via maps of data coverage in Geothermal Prospector ( A grid of the contiguous U.S. was created with 88,000 10-km by 10-km grid cells, and each cell was populated with the status of data availability corresponding to the five data types. Using these five data coverage maps and the USGS Resource Potential Map, sites were identified for future data collection efforts. These sites signify both that the USGS has indicated high favorability of occurrence of geothermal resources and that data gaps exist. The uploaded data are contained in two data files for each data category. The first file contains the grid and is in the SHP file format (shape file.) Each populated grid cell represents a 10k area within which data is known to exist. The second file is a CSV (comma separated value) file that contains all of the individual layers that intersected with the grid. This CSV can be joined with the map to retrieve a list of datasets that are available at any given site. The attributes in the CSV include: 1. grid_id : The id of the grid cell that the data intersects with 2. title: This represents the name of the WFS service that intersected with this grid cell 3. abstract: This represents the description of the WFS service that intersected with this grid cell 4. gap_type: This represents the category of data availability that these data fall within. As the current processing is pulling data from NGDS, this category universally represents data that are available in the NGDS and are ready for acquisition for analytic purposes. 5. proprietary_type: Whether the data are considered proprietary 6. service_type: The type of service 7. base_url: The service URL « less
  3. The project provides an updated Energy Return on Investment (EROI) for Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Results incorporate Argonne National Laboratory's Life Cycle Assessment and base case assumptions consistent with other projects in the Analysis subprogram. EROI is a ratio of the energy delivered to themore » consumer to the energy consumed to build, operate, and decommission the facility. EROI is important in assessing the viability of energy alternatives. Currently EROI analyses of geothermal energy are either out-of-date, of uncertain methodology, or presented online with little supporting documentation. This data set is a collection of files documenting data used to calculate the Energy Return On Investment (EROI) of Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) and erratum to publications prior to the final report. Final report is available from the OSTI web site ( Data in this collections includes the well designs used, input parameters for GETEM, a discussion of the energy needed to haul materials to the drill site, the baseline mud program, and a summary of the energy needed to drill each of the well designs. EROI is the ratio of the energy delivered to the customer to the energy consumed to construct, operate, and decommission the facility. Whereas efficiency is the ratio of the energy delivered to the customer to the energy extracted from the reservoir. « less
  4. An updated database of geothermal direct-use systems in the U.S. has been compiled and analyzed, building upon the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) Geo-Heat Center direct-use database. Types of direct-use applications examined include hot springs resorts and pools, aquaculture farms, greenhouses, and district heating systems,more » among others; power-generating facilities and ground-source heat pumps were excluded. Where possible, the current operation status, open and close dates, well data, and other technical data were obtained for each entry. The database contains 545 installations, of which 407 are open, 108 are closed, and 30 have an unknown status. A report is also included which details and analyzes current geothermal direct-use installations and barriers to further implementation. « less
  5. The Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technology Office (GTO) provides RD&D funding for geothermal exploration technologies with the goal of lowering the risks and costs of geothermal development and exploration. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was tasked with developing a metric in 2012 to measuremore » the impacts of this RD&D funding on the cost and time required for exploration activities. The development of this cost and time metric included collecting cost and time data for exploration techniques, creating a baseline suite of exploration techniques to which future exploration cost and time improvements can be compared, and developing an online tool for graphically showing potential project impacts (all available at Geothermal). This paper describes the methodology used to define the baseline exploration suite of techniques (baseline), as well as the approach that was used to create the cost and time data set that populates the baseline. The resulting product, an online tool for measuring impact, and the aggregated cost and time data are available on the Open Energy Information website (OpenEI, for public access. - Published 01/01/2013 by US National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL. « less