Geothermal Representation in Power System Models

Ian Warren, Sean Porse, Jeff Winick

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

2 Scopus Citations


Power system models generally fail to capture the range of characteristics geothermal resources provide and the value they potentially contribute to decarbonization and reliability of future electricity grids as firm, dispatchable, non-combustion power resources. This study reviews the results of power system modeling efforts to investigate geothermal deployment potential in the United States, including the U.S. DOE GeoVision analysis and ongoing modeling and analysis efforts to support planning and development of future grids with 100% renewable energy in California. Several themes are identified that could be implemented immediately to improve the accuracy of geothermal representation in power system models: consistency of model inputs, modeling of baseload and dispatchable geothermal resources, accurate valuation of grid services, improved representation of capacity factor, use of contemporary LCOE estimates, improved understanding of the evolution of geothermal value, and use of accurate resource potential constraints. Many of the models reviewed produced significantly different amounts of geothermal resource selection - even when modeling the same region and time period. This highlights the variability of inputs and assumptions among models, so creating a consistent set of geothermal inputs is a first step toward more accurate representation of geothermal in models. Research opportunities are identified that could help improve geothermal data inputs in modeling efforts, including analyses of historical data, sensitivity to model inputs, and comparative value of geothermal generators as baseload or dispatchable resources. Outcomes of such research can inform the geothermal community about how best to guide geothermal development toward wider deployment in support of future electricity grids through improved understanding of the evolution of geothermal value over time and the characteristics that contribute to that value.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2021
Event2021 Geothermal Rising Conference: Using the Earth to Save the Earth (GRC 2021) - San Diego, California
Duration: 3 Oct 20216 Oct 2021


Conference2021 Geothermal Rising Conference: Using the Earth to Save the Earth (GRC 2021)
CitySan Diego, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-80890


  • capacity expansion models
  • geothermal
  • power system models


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