Play Fairway Analysis

Geothermal energy today has expanded its horizons beyond traditional, surface-identified hydrothermal resources to include blind hydrothermal systems—without surface expression, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), and low-temperature systems. These varied types of geothermal resources comprise a substantial potential for economic opportunity and the capability to significantly increase power generation, direct use, and other applications from geothermal energy.

However, major questions remain as to how to best locate and qualify these resources. Without a tested screening criteria, the search for these blind systems can be time- and resource-intensive, with a low probability of success. Developing a systematic approach early in the exploration process will improve the success rate of geothermal development projects while reducing overall exploration costs, which will improve access to financing for drilling.

The concept of "play fairway analysis" has been used to identify potential locations of blind hydrothermal systems and describe geothermal opportunities in rift-zone settings. Borrowed from the petroleum industry, this tool incorporates the regional or basin-wide distribution of known geologic factors besides heat flow that control the occurrence of a particular example of a geothermal system.

EERE envisions awarding multiple financial assistance awards in the form of cooperative agreements. The estimated period of performance for each award will be up to one year for Phase 1, with more expedited completion preferred. Applications for conducting play fairway analysis in unexplored or underexplored basins or regions or using new play concepts in basins with known geothermal potential are especially encouraged. Comments on potential opportunities in geothermal play fairway analysis, level of interest, and scale of possible projects are welcomed, and may be directed to playfairway@go.doe.gov. This Notice is issued so that interested parties are aware of the EERE's intention to issue this FOA in the near term.

$3 Million in funding was just announced to develop Play Fairway Analysis, a tool long used in the oil & gas industry to predict subsurface resources. Click here to see the Funding Opportunity Announcement. To find out more and apply, please go to the EERE Exchange.

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