The following summary points were given on March 1, 2007 as part of a slideshow presentation at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Advantages of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) — power plants in 'low grade' settings where the hot rock source is deeper in the earth — are listed as follows:
- Large, indigenous, accessible base load power resource — 14,000,000 EJ of stored thermal energy accessible with today’s technologies. Key point — extractable amount of energy that could be recovered is not limited by resource size or availability
- Fits portfolio of sustainable renewable energy options — EGS complements the existing portfolio and does not hamper the growth of solar, biomass, and wind in their most appropriate domains.
- Scalable and environmentally friendly — EGS plants have small foot prints and low emissions — carbon-free and their modularity makes them easily scalable from large size plants.
- Technically feasible — Major elements of the technology to capture and extract EGS are in place. Key remaining issue is to establish inter-well connectivity at commercial production rates — only a factor of 2 to 3 greater than current levels.
- Economically favorable — projections favorable for high grade areas now with a credible learning path to provide competitive energy from mid- and low-grade resources
- Deployment costs modest — an investment of $200-400 million over 15 years would demonstrate EGS technology at a commercial scale at several US field sites to reduce risks for private investment and enable the development of 100,000 MWe.
- Supporting research costs reasonable — about $40 million/yr needed for 15 years — low in comparison to what other large impact US alternative energy programs will need to have the same impact on supply.