Geothermal-Enabled Zero Energy Community: A Techno-Economic Design Study to Address Cold-Climate Challenges

Dane Christensen, William Becker, Andrew Speake, Kevin McCabe, Samantha Bench Reese, Dylan Cutler, Caitlin Dorsey

Research output: NRELPoster


In northern climates, developing a zero-energy community is increasingly costly. Building loads are higher, thanks to the colder weather, and solar PV is both less effective, due to lower solar incidence, and misalignment with the buildings' energy needs (summer production, winter demands). We present a novel application for geothermal energy production in support of a zero-energy community, combining appropriate energy efficiency (demand design), geothermal production (supply design), and asset dispatch as an integrated technoeconomic package. This poster presents the process used to explore this system integration challenge, initial results, and discusses some of the technical opportunities for increasing the community-scale adoption of geothermal as an electric and thermal resource. Results indicate that under certain conditions, community-scale geothermal resources are quite competitive with today's grid tariffs and with PV, showing an LCOE within $0.01/kWh before consideration of important grid modernization factors such as resiliency and reliability.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePresented at the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting, 16-18 September 2019, Palm Springs, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5500-74884


  • analysis
  • community
  • design
  • geothermal
  • renewable
  • simulation
  • technoeconomic
  • zero energy


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