Readily Available Data Help to Overcome Geothermal Deployment Barriers

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Access to high-quality data will reduce risk and increase the likelihood of successful deployment, one of the largest barriers to geothermal development.
Locations: Nationwide
Partners: Boise State University, Arizona Geological Survey, Southern Methodist University
EERE Investment: $33 million
Clean Energy Sector: Renewable electricity generationPDF

Access to high-quality, geothermal-relevant data has been named as the single greatest need in the geothermal industry. The National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) is based on a DOE strategic planning directive to employ the most advanced informatics and ensure that the geothermal community has broad access to scientific data. This initiative aggregates data from all 50 state geological surveys, as well as DOE-funded projects critical to advancing geothermal research and resource development. This is a “best-in-class” data collection and dissemination effort. To achieve this goal, project data from all of the Geothermal Technologies Office’s awards are being uploaded into the DOE Geothermal Data Repository node on the NGDS. Through the use of an open-data design platform, geothermal data sets can be linked with other high-quality, critical geothermal data and broadly disseminated through the NGDS. Communities of practice across the entire geothermal development domain are evolving vocabulary and data models for heat flow, geophysical exploration, drilling, and engineered reservoirs—information that will reduce risk and increase the likelihood of successful deployment by providing comprehensive data of known quality.

The NGDS reached a major milestone in November 2012, with the inclusion of data from more than one million wells. That number is expected to more than double within a year, drawing key scientific data from oil, gas, water, and geothermal wells. Spread broadly around the nation, these data nodes contribute a continuous stream of fresh data pertaining to geology, faults and seismicity, heat flow, geochemistry, temperature, and drilling. New geothermal data, in turn, will cut down on costly upfront costs and advance discovery and development of large-scale energy production. This initiative is scheduled to be fully deployed in 2014.

The Geothermal Technologies Office researches, develops, and validates innovative and cost-competitive technologies and tools to locate, access, and develop geothermal resources in the United States.

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