Here’s an article co-written by my colleague Jigar Shah, suggesting that geothermal has a promising future; he believes that this is due in part to the availability of resources recently make available by the downturn in the oil industry. It begins:
Big Oil came into 2020 with big promises: big drops in greenhouse gas emissions, big investments in carbon-capture technology, big steps to make oil and gas a viable part of the global effort to slow climate change.
Like so many of the industry’s ambitious claims over the years, the efforts have proved to be little more than a glossy public relations fantasy — and the sector’s supposedly solid market fundamentals were exposed to be as flimsy as Hollywood set-dressing.
The piece continues on, making the point at that many of these unemployed oil guys and much of the idle equipment should be employed drilling and operating geothermal plants.
While Jigar knows more about this subject than I, let me point out two important differences between the geothermal and petrochemical industries:
Where oil exploration calls for drilling the softest parts of the Earth’s crust, geothermal tackles the very hardest, making the drilling intensely difficult and expensive.
Oil exploration is aided by electronics that identify underground crude deposits with amazing accuracy, eliminating the possibility of “dry holes.” There is no corresponding technology in geothermal.
Having said this, if Jigar likes geothermal, I like it too. 🙂