Systems Analysis

NGDS Workshop

Image of flyer for the National Geothermal Data System workshop 39th Annual Meeting on February 24-26, 2014.

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The Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) Systems Analysis area provides direction, focus and support for answering key questions pertaining to geothermal technology development and commercialization. All geothermal technologies pathways—from innovative exploration to surface power conversion—are the subject of the Systems Analysis area. Systems Analysis includes analysis conducted by the DOE national laboratories, private companies, and universities to guide research, development, and deployment (RD&D) efforts and respond to critical inquiries pertaining to the return on investment obtained by public investments in geothermal RD&D.

Analyses guided and supported by GTO primarily focus on:

  • Identifying and overcoming technology, market, and industry barriers
  • Supporting and informing decision-making
  • Identifying the economic, environmental, and energy security benefits of geothermal development
  • Demonstrating progress toward GTO goals and directing research efforts

To support these primary functions, GTO's analysis activities focus on the following areas:

  • 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.

  • Technology Characterization: GTO evaluates each geothermal technology's benefits and risks by reviewing the costs and economic impacts of geothermal development to recognize possible technology outcomes.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.