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Preprint Open Access

The Value of In-Reservoir Energy Storage for Flexible Dispatch of Geothermal Power

Ricks, Wilson; Norbeck, Jack; Jenkins, Jesse


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    "description": "<p>Geothermal systems making use of advanced drilling and well stimulation techniques have the potential to<br>\nprovide tens to hundreds of gigawatts of clean electricity generation in the United States by 2050. With<br>\nnear-zero variable costs, geothermal plants have traditionally been envisioned as providing &lsquo;&lsquo;baseload&rsquo;&rsquo; power,<br>\ngenerating at their maximum rated output at all times. However, as variable renewable energy sources (VREs)<br>\nsee greater deployment in energy markets, baseload power is becoming increasingly less competitive relative to<br>\nflexible, dispatchable generation and energy storage. Herein we conduct an analysis of the potential for future<br>\ngeothermal plants to provide both of these services, taking advantage of the natural properties of confined,<br>\nengineered geothermal reservoirs to store energy in the form of accumulated, pressurized geofluid and provide<br>\nflexible load-following generation. We develop a linear optimization model based on multi-physics reservoir<br>\nsimulations that captures the transient pressure and flow behaviors within a confined, engineered geothermal<br>\nreservoir. We then optimize the investment decisions and hourly operations of a power plant exploiting such<br>\na reservoir against a set of historical and modeled future electricity price series. We find that operational<br>\nflexibility and in-reservoir energy storage can significantly enhance the value of geothermal plants in markets<br>\nwith high VRE penetration, with energy value improvements of up to 60% relative to conventional baseload<br>\nplants operating under identical conditions. Across a range of realistic subsurface and operational conditions,<br>\nour modeling demonstrates that confined, engineered geothermal reservoirs can provide large and effectively<br>\nfree energy storage capacity, with round-trip storage efficiencies comparable to those of leading grid-scale<br>\nenergy storage technologies. Optimized operational strategies indicate that flexible geothermal plants can<br>\nprovide both short- and long-duration energy storage, prioritizing output during periods of high electricity<br>\nprices. Sensitivity analysis assesses the variation in outcomes across a range of subsurface conditions and cost<br>\nscenarios.</p>\n\n<p>Reference for published paper: Ricks, W., Norbeck, J., and Jenkins, J.D., &quot;The value of in-reservoir energy storage for flexible dispatch of geothermal power,&quot;<em> Applied Energy</em>, Volume 313, 2022, 118807. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2022.118807</p>", 
    "license": {
      "id": "CC-BY-4.0"
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    "title": "The Value of In-Reservoir Energy Storage for Flexible Dispatch of Geothermal Power", 
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    "keywords": [
      "Geothermal, Enhanced, Flexible, Storage, EGS"
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    "publication_date": "2022-03-22", 
    "creators": [
      {
        "orcid": "0000-0003-3385-1605", 
        "affiliation": "Princeton University", 
        "name": "Ricks, Wilson"
      }, 
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        "affiliation": "Fervo Energy", 
        "name": "Norbeck, Jack"
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        "orcid": "0000-0002-9670-7793", 
        "affiliation": "Princeton University", 
        "name": "Jenkins, Jesse"
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