Cassels recently published a piece about the landscape of geothermal as a renewable energy source. The article suggests wind and solar energy are going to stick around, but with that comes concern around the variability of the resources. Sunlight and windy weather are not always available and while energy storage plays an important role, as do constant, predictable, and reliable energy sources.
This is where geothermal energy comes in, with its ability to harness natural heat beneath the Earth’s crust to generate electricity. Geothermal is complementary to wind and solar by providing green energy generation. The output of power from a geothermal operation can be adjusted on-demand and produces more power throughout the winter season, which helps offset the intermittency of solar power generation during winter peaks.
The article notes that start-ups such as Eavor Technologies Inc. have attracted the attention and interest of investors, such as BP and Chevron. Geothermal investment on a global scale has increased by almost 600%.
The three most common technologies to produce geothermal energy are outlined as conventional hydrothermal, EGS systems and AGS systems. Conventional hydrothermal is used commonly in volcanically active countries, such as Iceland and New Zealand. It utilizes natural pockets of hot water or steam that are close to the surface. EGS projects remove porosity and aquifers from the equation in generating geothermal energy, and in doing so, they dramatically increase the number of viable sites. With EGS, high-pressure fluid is used in “fracking” techniques to create an aquifer of heated fluid, and production wells harvest the fluid to the surface in order to produce heat or power. AGS takes this one step further by removing the need for an aquifer altogether. It operates similarly to a radiator, it’s a closed-loop system. It can use a single well or multiple wells, and fluid is circulated throughout picking up heat along the way.
These AGS systems are already being utilized by companies such as Eavor Technologies, with their successful Eavor-Loop™ proof concept in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Investors in Eavor include BP Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Temasek, BDC Capital, Eversource, Vickers Venture Partners, and Precision Drilling.
Learn more by reading “The Landscape of Geothermal Energy as a Renewable Energy Source” on Cassels.