2022 GETEM Geothermal Drilling Cost Curve Update

Jody Robins, Devon Kesseli, Erik Witter, Greg Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Geothermal Electricity Technology Evaluation Model (GETEM) is an essential tool for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) to understand the performance and cost of technologies it is seeking to improve. This detailed model is used for supply curve analyses, assessing the current economic feasibility and levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of hydrothermal geothermal systems and enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), and evaluating the potential impact of advanced geothermal technologies. GETEM can be used to estimate the performance and costs of currently available U.S. geothermal power systems. It is also used to estimate the costs of technologies 5 to 20 years in the future, given the direction of potential research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects. The model is intended to help GTO determine which proposed RD&D programs and projects might offer the most efficient improvement when using taxpayer funding. The model requires annual updates as well as revisions to reflect the current state of the art. Drilling costs are a significant portion of total geothermal development costs. The current GETEM drilling cost inputs rely on drilling data from 2009 and require an updated analysis of more recent data to ensure they remain representative of current technologies. An updated, more accurate understanding of costs could help the geothermal industry secure project development financing and investment funding and better allow the oil and gas (O&G) industry (both operators and service companies) to weigh potential geothermal market participation and customization. This report details recent drilling improvements from the Utah Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) and the O&G sector, comparing drilling performance and costs with values in GETEM, particularly the baseline drilling cost curves. Although drilling performance at FORGE has improved significantly, we did not find associated cost decreases that would justify lowering the GETEM baseline cost curves at this time.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 Geothermal Rising Conference: Using the Earth to Save the Earth, GRC 2022 - Reno, United States
Duration: 28 Aug 202231 Aug 2022


Conference2022 Geothermal Rising Conference: Using the Earth to Save the Earth, GRC 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-82771 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-86436


  • API
  • cost curve
  • drilling
  • Geothermal
  • GeoVision
  • oil and gas


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