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  • Writer's picturedawnjohnston1

Texas has Sufficient Heat for Geothermal

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

The core of the earth is 6,000°C (10,832°F), the same temperature as the surface of the sun. We don’t burn our feet when we walk around barefoot outside thanks to the insulative properties of Earth’s crust, but anywhere in the world if you drill deep enough, you reach boiling, even supercritical temperatures.

Temperature of Texas geothermal resources at 6.5 kilometers depth. As mapped, much of the State is at or near conventional minimum viable temperatures for geothermal power generation. Source: Adapted from SMU Geothermal Laboratory.

At 10 kilometers of depth or shallower, just about every point on earth has sufficient heat for power generation. This massive heat resource is viable for electricity production in much of the State of Texas, including near its major population centers, at approximately 6.5 kilometers, a drilling depth typical in parts of the world within the oil and gas industry. In fact, analysis in this Report and a prior related study concluded that it is likely hotter in the Texas subsurface than previously estimated, by as much as 15 percent. This difference is significant enough to improve both project economics, and technical feasibility of geothermal development in the State.

Geothermal energy is CO2 free, clean, always on, has a small footprint compared with other energy sources, and is ubiquitous.

A feasibility study for Upshur County conducted by Clearwater Reserves, LLC with SMU Geothermal Lab contributed to this landmark compilation of research by five Texas universities and additional supportive agencies. While we are waiting for drilling technology and funding to advance to the level of production and depths indicated by this research, Clearwater Reserves' proposal offers a method right now of storing heated water in existing wellbores for retrieval to sustain 24/7 baseload power.

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