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Geothermal Techno-Economic Analysis

NREL's techno-economic analysis examines geothermal technologies in terms of costs, benefits, risks, uncertainties, and timeframes.

Researcher projects an analysis table to a large screen.
Techno-economics is key to understanding which research has the most potential to reduce development cost.


  • Tracking technology trends and costs for geothermal development projects (heat, power, and heat pumps) as well as for project segments (e.g., drilling and power plants)
  • Evaluating innovation opportunities, potential costs, and cost improvements
  • Analyzing opportunities within the electric and heat markets of today and out to 2050

Learn more about NREL's cross-cutting analysis capabilities.

Techno-Economic Models

NREL develops geothermal techno-economic models that estimate the levelized cost of electricity and heat for geothermal projects.  One example, the Geothermal Electricity Technology Evaluation Model, estimates levelized cost of electricity using user data and a set of pre-defined scenarios. NREL uses the model to develop resource supply curves for the United States for high-visibility forecast modeling such as the 2019 GeoVision Study and the Renewable Electricity Futures Study.  Our techno-economic models can also be used in cost-improvement analyses to help the Department of Energy understand the potential of research funding to impact levelized cost of electricity and heat.

Annual Technology Baseline

To inform electric and transportation sector analysis in the United States, NREL provides a robust set of modeling input assumptions for energy technologies (the Annual Technology Baseline) and a diverse set of potential electricity generation futures, or modeling scenarios (Standard Scenarios). The Annual Technology Baseline is a framework to identify technology-specific cost and performance parameters across a range of fuel price and site-specific conditions for electric generation technologies at present and with projections through 2050.


GeoVision Analysis Supporting Task Force Report: Electric Sector Potential to Penetration, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Introducing GEOPHIRES v2.0: Updated Geothermal Techno-Economic Simulation Tool, 43rd Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering (2018)

Renewable Electricity Futures Study Volume 2: Renewable Electricity Generation and Storage Technologies, NREL Technical Report (2012)

View all NREL publications about geothermal research.


Greg Rhodes

Geothermal Research Analyst