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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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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;Geothermal systems making use of advanced drilling and well stimulation techniques have the potential to&lt;br&gt;
provide tens to hundreds of gigawatts of clean electricity generation in the United States by 2050. With&lt;br&gt;
near-zero variable costs, geothermal plants have traditionally been envisioned as providing &amp;lsquo;&amp;lsquo;baseload&amp;rsquo;&amp;rsquo; power,&lt;br&gt;
generating at their maximum rated output at all times. However, as variable renewable energy sources (VREs)&lt;br&gt;
see greater deployment in energy markets, baseload power is becoming increasingly less competitive relative to&lt;br&gt;
flexible, dispatchable generation and energy storage. Herein we conduct an analysis of the potential for future&lt;br&gt;
geothermal plants to provide both of these services, taking advantage of the natural properties of confined,&lt;br&gt;
engineered geothermal reservoirs to store energy in the form of accumulated, pressurized geofluid and provide&lt;br&gt;
flexible load-following generation. We develop a linear optimization model based on multi-physics reservoir&lt;br&gt;
simulations that captures the transient pressure and flow behaviors within a confined, engineered geothermal&lt;br&gt;
reservoir. We then optimize the investment decisions and hourly operations of a power plant exploiting such&lt;br&gt;
a reservoir against a set of historical and modeled future electricity price series. We find that operational&lt;br&gt;
flexibility and in-reservoir energy storage can significantly enhance the value of geothermal plants in markets&lt;br&gt;
with high VRE penetration, with energy value improvements of up to 60% relative to conventional baseload&lt;br&gt;
plants operating under identical conditions. Across a range of realistic subsurface and operational conditions,&lt;br&gt;
our modeling demonstrates that confined, engineered geothermal reservoirs can provide large and effectively&lt;br&gt;
free energy storage capacity, with round-trip storage efficiencies comparable to those of leading grid-scale&lt;br&gt;
energy storage technologies. Optimized operational strategies indicate that flexible geothermal plants can&lt;br&gt;
provide both short- and long-duration energy storage, prioritizing output during periods of high electricity&lt;br&gt;
prices. Sensitivity analysis assesses the variation in outcomes across a range of subsurface conditions and cost&lt;br&gt;
scenarios.&lt;/p&gt;

&lt;p&gt;Reference for published paper: Ricks, W., Norbeck, J., and Jenkins, J.D., &amp;quot;The value of in-reservoir energy storage for flexible dispatch of geothermal power,&amp;quot;&lt;em&gt; Applied Energy&lt;/em&gt;, Volume 313, 2022, 118807. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2022.118807&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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