Description: This study identifies remaining undeveloped geothermal resources in California and western Nevada, and it estimates the development costs of each. It has relied on public-domain information and such additional data as geothermal developers have chosen to make available. Reserve estimation has been performed by volumetric analysis with a probabilistic approach to uncertain input parameters. Incremental geothermal reserves in the California/Nevada study area have a minimum value of 2,800 grosss MW and a most-likely value of 4,300 gross MW. For the state of California alone, these values are 2,000 and 3,000 gross MW, respectively. These estimates may be conservative to the extent that they do not take into account resources about which little or no public-domain information is available. The average capital cost of incremental generation capacity is estimated to average $3,100/kW for the California/Nevada study area, and $2,950/kW for the state of California alone. These cost estimates include exploration, confirmation drilling, development drilling, plant construction, and transmission-line costs. For the purposes of this study, a capital cost of $2,400/kW is considered competitive with other renewable resources. The amount of incremental geothermal capacity available at or below $2,400/kW is about 1,700 gross MW for the California/Nevada study area, and the same amount (within 50-MW rounding) for the state of California alone. The capital cost estimates are only approximate, because each developer would bring its own experience, bias, and opportunities to the development process. Nonetheless, the overall costs per project estimated in this study are believed to be reasonable.
Date: April 1, 2004
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