The year 2023 was a transformative period for our company, fueled by numerous financial and operational successes, including securing a €91.6 million grant from the European Union, closing a total of $239 million in equity capital, and beginning drilling operations at the world’s first commercial Eavor-Loop™ project. Underscoring the significance of the project, we were honored to host the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and numerous other dignitaries at the project’s inauguration event in August. Our team also advanced numerous other Eavor-Loop™ projects around the world. As a testament to Eavor’s growth and expansion, our organization also saw a substantial increase in headcount in both our Calgary and Dusseldorf offices. As we enter 2024, it is with great pride that we reflect on the milestones and achievements that defined the past twelve months.
In March, Eavor signed the European Union Innovation Fund grant agreement, officially securing a €91.6 million grant in support of Eavor’s first commercial project, Eavor-Europe™. Eavor-Europe™ was one of 18 projects selected to receive grant funding, amongst a group largely headlined by European multinational corporations. Eavor-Europe™ was the only geothermal project selected, further highlighting the innovative nature of the Eavor-Loop™ technology.
In addition to the EUIF award, another highlight of 2023 was Eavor’s Series B fundraising round, which kicked off in June with the announcement of OMV as the lead investor and a $50 million investment.
We successfully closed the $180 million CAD Series B round in December following investments from the Canada Growth Fund, Japan Energy Fund, Monaco Asset Management and Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund. Existing investors, BDC, bp Ventures, Eversource Energy, Temasek, and Vickers Venture Partners also contributed to the round. We were honored to host Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, and Alberta’s Minister of Environment, Rebecca Schulz to announce Canada Growth Fund’s $90 million investment.
Along with the conversion of Chubu’s convertible debentures (previously announced in 2022), and additional Series A share issuance, Eavor raised a total of $239 million CAD in 2023.
2023 was a pivotal year for the world’s first commercial Eavor-Loop™ project, Eavor-Europe™. The first half of the year was focused on civil works and pad construction, culminating in the mobilization of two drilling rigs and well spud in July.
To celebrate this historic moment, we hosted a ceremonial project inauguration event at the Geretsried site in August. To underscore the international significance of the Eavor-Europe™ project, German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and numerous other dignitaries were in attendance, all emphasizing the importance of our innovative technology for decarbonization and energy security. Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Rebecca Schulz also spoke at the event in support of exporting Alberta clean tech to Germany.
We were also thrilled to welcome Chubu Electric Power as a partner in the Geretsried project after they acquired an approximate 40% stake in the project company in July. As of December, both rigs have drilled through 5,000 m of rock and will shortly begin lateral drilling operations, with the first intersection scheduled for February 2024.
Beyond commercialization at Geretsried, significant time and effort has been spent on advancing our pipeline of Eavor-Loop™ projects around the world. In Europe, our two main follow-on projects, Tilburg and Hannover, have both achieved significant milestones. At Hannover, we signed a heat purchase agreement with enercity in October, and the project has now entered the detailed design phase. Meanwhile, the Tilburg project in the Netherlands has been awarded a €10,000,000 grant from the Netherlands government. The project team has also applied for the Dutch SDE++ production subsidy, with a decision expected early in the new year.
In North America, we kicked off the year by signing a cooperation agreement with Sonoma Clean Power, the power provider in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, for the development of up to 200 MW of geothermal power within the GeoZone. Since then, we have completed the first portion of a detailed feasibility study, evaluating how we can unlock the geothermal potential in Northern California. The preliminary results suggest favorable development conditions for the Eavor-Loop™ technology.
Elsewhere in the US, we were excited to announce that Eavor has been awarded a $3,500,000 contract with the US Air Force to explore the potential for Eavor-Loop™ development at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas. A feasibility study is underway, and we are excited about the potential to provide energy resilience at JBSA and other bases worldwide.
2023 saw the first commercial use of the Eavor-invented Insulated Drill Pipe (IDP) by both the Department of Energy at the Utah FORGE test site and by a Haynesville Shale Operator in Louisiana. In both cases, the IDP was successful at reducing bottom-hole assembly temperatures, demonstrating the potential for Eavor IP to be a game-changing technology that can be deployed beyond Eavor-Loop™ operations.
December 4th also marked the 4-year anniversary of Eavor-Lite™ operations. Over this time, the pilot has achieved thermal output within 5% of predicted output prior to drilling and an exceptional uptime of 96.2%, including any downtime associated with system trials (such as dispatchability and thermal recovery trials, both of which required a system shutdown). Outside of those trials, system reliability is 99.6%, with the only downtime attributed to a 3rd party power outage.
Eavor works with multiple geothermal trade groups to educate key stakeholders on the benefits of geothermal for the environment and the economy, with the goal of growing the geothermal pie and leaning into “a rising tide lifts all boats” – a mantra reiterated by us several times at global energy keynote sessions.
An example is our involvement with the Geothermal Rising Policy Committee (GRPC), where we have been collaborating across the industry to advance technology-agnostic geothermal priorities at the state and federal levels. The significance of the GRPC work was underscored by the private hearing with the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, at The Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, in March.
This meeting was pivotal for building bridges and speaking with one voice to the Energy Secretary and the US Department of Energy, underscoring the importance of investing in Geothermal Energy Development through technology-agnostic policy. The Eavor team briefed the Energy Secretary on the value proposition of the Eavor Loop™ alongside Eavor’s partners from Sonoma Clean Power and the Utah State trust lands.
In June, representatives from Eavor joined the Geothermal Rising Hill Day fly-in and had face-to-face meetings with Senior Staffers from many State and Congressional offices to educate policymakers on the benefits of geothermal energy for secure, reliable, 24/7 carbon-free heat and power. The education is paying off as there are a multitude of bills moving in the current legislative session supporting geothermal permitting de-bottlenecking in the US, among other key priorities.
2023 was a tremendous year for staffing growth at Eavor, with the total headcount increasing by 80%, to 77 full-time employees and contractors. As a result, both the Calgary and Dusseldorf offices have expanded to accommodate current and future employees. We have also expanded our leadership team, including our CFO, Shyamli Mohamed; COO, Jason Rakochy; Director of Global People Operations, Patti Mailer, along with the promotions of Daniel Mölk and Bailey Schwarz to the executive team.
We are immensely proud of the industry-leading team that we have built and happy to see that our experts are being recognized throughout the energy industry, including Anna Rogers, who received the Young Professional Award in Applied Research at the Geothermal Rising Conference, Lynette Liston who won the prestigious Women in Energy Transformation award, and yours truly, who received the INSEAD Business Sustainability Award.
I can not only thank our amazing team, and investors, for their incredible efforts to achieve the near impossible, but also a big thank you to our families for their support in helping us make this year such a success! Collectively, we are truly changing the world for the better. I can’t wait to share with you our even bigger accomplishments in the year to come.
President + CEO