The economics of heat mining: An analysis of design options and performance requirements of hot dry rock (HDR) geothermal power systems

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A generalized economic model was developed to predict the breakeven price of HDR generated electricity. Important parameters include: (1) resource quality--average geothermal gradient ({sup o}C/km) and well depth, (2) reservoir performance--effective productivity, flow impedance, and lifetime (thermal drawdown rate), (3) cost components--drilling, reservoir formation, and power plant costs and (4) economic factors--discount and interest rates, taxes, etc. Detailed cost correlations based on historical data and results of other studies are presented for drilling, stimulation, and power plant costs. Results of the generalized model are compared to the results of several published economic assessments. Critical parameters affecting economic viability are drilling ... continued below

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35-52

Creation Information

Tester, Jefferson W. & Herzog, Howard J. January 25, 1991.

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Description

A generalized economic model was developed to predict the breakeven price of HDR generated electricity. Important parameters include: (1) resource quality--average geothermal gradient ({sup o}C/km) and well depth, (2) reservoir performance--effective productivity, flow impedance, and lifetime (thermal drawdown rate), (3) cost components--drilling, reservoir formation, and power plant costs and (4) economic factors--discount and interest rates, taxes, etc. Detailed cost correlations based on historical data and results of other studies are presented for drilling, stimulation, and power plant costs. Results of the generalized model are compared to the results of several published economic assessments. Critical parameters affecting economic viability are drilling costs and reservoir performance. For example, high gradient areas are attractive because shallower well depths and/or lower reservoir production rates are permissible. Under a reasonable set of assumptions regarding reservoir impedance, accessible rock volumes and surface areas, and mass flow rates (to limit thermal drawdown rates to about 10 C per year), predictions for HDR-produced electricity result in competitive breakeven prices in the range of 5 to 9 cents/kWh for resources having average gradients above 50 C/km. Lower gradient areas require improved reservoir performance and/or lower well drilling costs.

Physical Description

35-52

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  • Proceedings, sixteenth workshop on geothermal reservoir engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, January 23-25, 1991

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  • Report No.: SGP-TR-134-7
  • Grant Number: None
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 887476
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc885923

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  • January 25, 1991

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 5, 2016, 2:41 p.m.

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Tester, Jefferson W. & Herzog, Howard J. The economics of heat mining: An analysis of design options and performance requirements of hot dry rock (HDR) geothermal power systems, article, January 25, 1991; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc885923/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.