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alternative fuels

geothermal collab heats up renewable energy projects

1 min read | september 05, 2023

why it matters

Geothermal is a critical part of the energy mix needed for a lower carbon future.

It also has the following benefits:

  • Geothermal is considered a baseload energy, meaning it is continuously available. It doesn’t depend on weather, time of day or other outside factors because the Earth is always producing heat.
  • It is a renewable resource for generating power and for producing other lower carbon energies, such as hydrogen.
  • Geothermal is a valuable renewable resource because of its high reliability and availability.
  • It is a flexible source of power, with a relatively small footprint, that can meet the needs of a variety of customers.

working together

Collaborations like the Chevron–Baseload joint venture are helping drive geothermal opportunities.

Kimilia Jones, commercial manager for Chevron’s emerging business line, noted that this endeavor is a platform for Chevron to advance geothermal development in the United States.

“This will allow Chevron to be hands-on in assessing challenges with geothermal development, including permitting, geothermal resource identification and interconnections.”

kimilia jones
commercial manager for chevron’s emerging business line

“The Baseload joint venture may also provide options for meeting enterprise needs and creating new value chains in Chevron New Energies.” she said.

nimble and quick

Although the Weepah Hills project in western Nevada is relatively small compared to other geothermal undertakings, its size has helped it quickly move to the ready stage.

“We want to get into a position where we can develop several of these in parallel—and quicker,” said Jesper Jolma, investment manager with Baseload. “That way we can bring more power online faster. Fifty or 100 megawatt projects are fantastic, but they take many years to develop.”

experience matters

Chevron isn’t new to the geothermal industry. Previously, our geothermal assets were conventional, using traditional geothermal methods. Now we are working to accelerate the development of geothermal energy by using the latest technologies, within a range of temperatures, while also working to advance novel technologies.

We bring decades of experience from traditional oil and gas operations, such as wells and drilling, to tap into the Earth’s heat. Using scalable, novel geothermal technology will help us convert that heat into energy.

An example of a novel geothermal technology, known as closed loop, is a system where pipes run in a loop from the surface to the rock underground and back up. Fluid is contained and circulated through the pipes, absorbing the heat from the surrounding rock and transporting the heat back to the surface. Another example, called enhanced geothermal, is a system that involves drilling into solid rock, injecting water to allow increased permeability and collecting the now hot water through another well. Once at the surface, the heat is used to power a turbine and generate energy.

This isn’t the first time we’ve teamed up with Baseload Capital. Together, we launched a pilot in July 2022 at our San Ardo oil and gas field in California. That trial uses oil and gas wells to process heat and produce lower carbon, cost-effective power.

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