What is the Systems Analysis program?

The Systems Analysis program in the Geothermal Technologies Office focuses primarily on:

  • Environmental issues
  • Policy, regulatory, and financing
  • Economic analysis and validation
  • Data and tools that support geothermal exploration and development

As a key part of the Systems Analysis portfolio, a two-year, comprehensive Vision Study for geothermal energy development is underway to project growth scenarios over the coming decades.

To support these primary functions, GTO's analysis activities support:

  • Environmental Analysis: GTO works to address the environmental impacts of geothermal technologies through research and analysis of geothermal project life cycles and water use, and seismicity issues related to enhanced geothermal systems.
    • New Studies Aid in Optimizing Water Use in Geothermal Applications
  • Market and Policy Analysis: GTO analysts strive to help the geothermal community increase the use of geothermal resources in the marketplace and provide options for strengthening current geothermal policies through vigorous market and policy analysis. The Energy Department's 2013 Geothermal Market Report is now available online.
  • Strategic Planning: GTO develops a detailed Geothermal Technologies Multi-Year RD&D Plan that is updated every two years. This document provides input to program planning, budgeting and analysis.
  • Geothermal Data Systems: GTO collects nationwide geothermal data, conducts analyses and maintains this information in a National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) for widespread public use to reduce the risk of geothermal energy development. More information about NGDS is available in our NGDS Fact Sheet.
  • Economic Impact Tools: GTO evaluates each geothermal technology's benefits and risks by reviewing the costs and economic impacts of geothermal development to recognize possible technology outcomes.

A variety of analysis methodologies are used in combination to provide a sound understanding of GTO. Working closely with technology managers and developers is key to including realistic assumptions, both market- and technology-based. The GTO Strategic Planning and Analysis Working Group provides a peer review of analytical efforts.

NREL Report: Doubling Geothermal Generation Capacity by 2020: A Strategic Analysis

Geothermal Vision Study

Featured Publications

Doubling Geothermal Generation Capacity by 2020: A Strategic Analysis

NREL Doubling Geothermal Capacity

Geothermal Exploration Policy Mechanisms

This report focuses on five of the policy types that are most relevant to the U.S. market and political context for the exploration and confirmation of conventional hydrothermal (geothermal) resources in the United States: (1) drilling failure insurance, (2) loan guarantees, (3) subsidized loans, (4) capital subsidies, and (5) government-led exploration. It describes each policy type and its application in other countries and regions. It offers policymakers a guide for drafting future geothermal support mechanisms for the exploration-drilling phase of geothermal development.

National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) Fact Sheet

Industry has named one of the largest barriers to widespread adoption of geothermal technologies: the lack of quantifiable, geothermal-relevant data in the subsurface. The Department of Energy has answered the call with a mammoth resource of geoscience information that contains enough raw data points to pinpoint the elusive sweet spots of geothermal energy.

NGDS is an interoperable networked system of distributed data repositories accessed through federated catalog nodes and is built upon an open architecture using open-source software practices. The NGDS provides access to geothermal data from providers across the U.S., including all 50 state geological surveys, the nation’s leading academic geothermal centers, the geothermal industry, and a variety of federal agencies. The NGDS model can easily be extended beyond the United States to an international audience. The NGDS provides a platform for accessing and sharing geothermal technical data. Take a look at the latest NGDS fact sheet for more information.

Seismicity Protocol

Project objectives: Develop an updated protocol/best engineering practices to address public and industry issues associated with induced seismicity.

Geothermal Electricity Technology Evaluation Model (GETEM)