Economic modeling of electricity production from hot dry rock geothermal reservoirs: methodology and analyses. Final report
Description: An analytical methodology is developed for assessing alternative modes of generating electricity from hot dry rock (HDR) geothermal energy sources. The methodology is used in sensitivity analyses to explore relative system economics. The methodology used a computerized, intertemporal optimization model to determine the profit-maximizing design and management of a unified HDR electric power plant with a given set of geologic, engineering, and financial conditions. By iterating this model on price, a levelized busbar cost of electricity is established. By varying the conditions of development, the sensitivity of both optimal management and busbar cost to these conditions are explored. A plausible set of reference case parameters is established at the outset of the sensitivity analyses. This reference case links a multiple-fracture reservoir system to an organic, binary-fluid conversion cycle. A levelized busbar cost of 43.2 mills/kWh ($1978) was determined for the reference case, which had an assumed geothermal gradient of 40/sup 0/C/km, a design well-flow rate of 75 kg/s, an effective heat transfer area per pair of wells of 1.7 x 10/sup 6/ m/sup 2/, and plant design temperature of 160/sup 0/C. Variations in the presumed geothermal gradient, size of the reservoir, drilling costs, real rates of return, and other system parameters yield minimum busbar costs between -40% and +76% of the reference case busbar cost.
Date: September 1, 1979
Creator: Cummings, R.G. & Morris, G.E.
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