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Macro Energy Trends and the Future of Geothermal Within the Low-Carbon Energy Portfolio

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Abstract

Exploratory analysis was conducted to understand energy diversification trends within the oil, gas, and power industry and to examine whether geothermal technologies play a role in the low-carbon energy mix. Investigations were completed using the 2018 end of year financial reports for 36 companies. Macro-scale insights reveal a significant split between European and US-based oil and gas companies in terms of strategy which is mirrored by the power companies. Diversification into low-carbon technologies is driving an energy convergence between the oil and gas and power sectors. Presently, the oil and gas industry is not actively investing in geothermal technologies, favoring instead solar photovoltaic (solar PV), onshore/offshore wind, biomass/gas, gas to power and storage. The macro-scale analysis is coupled with, 20, semi-structured interviews with geothermal and energy specialists. The interviews provided an insight why oil and gas companies have resisted entering the geothermal industry. In addition the interviews were organized into a Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental, PESTLE, analysis to understand the present-day external environment of the geothermal industry in the USA today. The combined analyses indicate that the regulatory, business and finance environment for geothermal, in the USA, is challenging. Recent geothermal innovations that increase the footprint of the geothermal industry, offering new scalable, low-carbon baseload concepts, might provide an avenue for the oil and gas industry to enter the geothermal domain, while leveraging their existing core competencies, intellectual property (IP), technology, assets, and workforce knowledge skills and experience.

Citation

(2020). Macro Energy Trends and the Future of Geothermal Within the Low-Carbon Energy Portfolio. Journal of Energy Resources Technology, https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4048520

Acceptance Date Aug 24, 2020
Publication Date Oct 27, 2020
Journal Journal of Energy Resources Technology-Transactions of the The ASME
Print ISSN 0195-0738
Publisher American Society of Mechanical Engineers
DOI https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4048520
Keywords alternative energy sources, geothermal energy, renewable energy
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4048520

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