Report on the U.S. DOE Geothermal Technologies Program's 2009 Risk Analysis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


NREL conducted an annual program risk analysis on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP). NREL implemented a probabilistic risk analysis of GTP-sponsored research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) work, primarily for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS). The analysis examined estimates of improvement potential derived from program RD&D work for two types of technology performance metric (TPM): EGS-enabling technologies potential and EGS cost improvement potential. Four risk teams (exploration, wells/pumps/tools, reservoir engineering, and power conversion) comprised of industry experts, DOE laboratory researchers, academic researchers, and laboratory subcontractors estimated the RD&D impacts and TPM-improvement probability distributions. The assessment employed a risk analysis spreadsheet add-in that uses Monte Carlo simulation to drive the Geothermal Electric Technology Evaluation Model (GETEM). The GETEM-based risk analysis used baseline data from the experts' discussion of multiple reports and data sources. Risk results are expressed in terms of each metric's units and/or the program's top-level metric: levelized costs of electricity (LCOE). Results--both qualitative comments and quantitative improvement potential--are thorough and cohesive in three of the four expert groups. This conference paper summarizes the industry's current thinking on various metrics and potential for research improvement in geothermal technologies.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2010
Event35th Stanford Geothermal Workshop - Stanford, California
Duration: 1 Feb 20101 Feb 2010


Conference35th Stanford Geothermal Workshop
CityStanford, California

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-6A20-73442 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A2-47388


  • DOE
  • EGS
  • enhanced geothermal systems
  • estimated RD&D impacts
  • Geothermal Technologies Program
  • GTP
  • probabilistic risk analysis
  • program risk analysis


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