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Transmission Issues of Geothermal Technologies

May 1, 2012

Title: Geothermal Power and Interconnection: The Economics of Getting to Market
Author: David Hurlbut, NREL

This report provides a baseline description of the transmission issues affecting geothermal technologies. The report begins with a comprehensive overview of the grid, how it is planned, how it is used, and how it is paid for. The report then overlays onto this "big picture" three types of geothermal technologies: conventional hydrothermal systems; emerging technologies such as enhanced engineered geothermal systems (EGS) and geopressured geothermal; and geothermal co-production with existing oil and gas wells. Each category of geothermal technology has its own set of interconnection issues, and these are examined separately for each. The report draws conclusions about each technology's market affinities as defined by factors related to transmission and distribution infrastructure. It finishes with an assessment of selected markets with known geothermal potential, identifying those that offer the best prospects for near-term commercial development and for demonstration projects.

—Jim Leyshon