Thermal regime of the Great Basin and its implications for enhanced geothermal systems and off-grid power

Geothermal Resources Council Transactions




The Basin and Range Province of the Western United States covers most of Nevada and parts of adjoining states. It was formed by east-west tectonic extension that occurred mostly between 50 and 10 Ma, but which still is active in some areas. The northern Basin and Range, also known as the Great Basin, is higher in elevation, has higher regional heat flow and is more tectonically active than the southern Basin and Range which encompasses the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. The Great Basin terrane contains the largest number of geothermal power plants in the United States, although most electrical production is at The Geysers and in the Salton Trough. Installed capacities of electrical power plants in the Great Basin vary from 1 to 260 MWe. Productivity is limited largely by permeability, relatively small productive reservoir volumes, available water, market conditions and the availability of transmission lines. Accessible, in-place heat is not a limiting condition for geothermal systems in the Great Basin. In many areas, economic temperatures (>120°C) can be found at economically drillable depths making it an appropriate region for implementation of the concept of "Enhanced Geothermal Systems" (EGS). An incremental approach to EGS would involve increasing the productivity and longevity of existing hydrothermal systems. Those geothermal projects that have an existing power plant and transmission facilities are the most attractive EGS candidates. Sites that were not developed owing to marginal size, lack of intrinsic permeability, and distance to existing electrical grid lines are also worthy of consideration for off-grid power production in geographically isolated markets such as ranches, farms, mines, and smelters.

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Thermal regime of the Great Basin and its implications for enhanced geothermal systems and off-grid power
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Geothermal Resources Council Transactions
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Geothermal Resources Council
Publisher location:
Davis, CA, United States
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Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geothermal Resources Council Transactions
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Conference Title:
Global Geothermal Resources: Sustainable Energy for the Future
Conference Location:
Reno, NV, USA