A research team from the University of Texas at Austin is making the case that geothermal energy could solve Texas's grid reliability issues and complement the state's fossil fuel industry rather than competing with it.
Through industry know-how and existing technology transfer alone, the oil and gas sector could reduce the cost of geothermal projects by up to 43%, according to a Jan. 24 report. The findings were the result of a multiyear research project with the International Energy Agency and four other universities.
Geothermal power plants tap into the natural heat underground to generate electricity. The plants have been around for more than a century near geysers and hot springs, though some innovators are trying to drill deeper in hopes of making geothermal power generation accessible anywhere.
Though Texas lacks the volcanic formations that allow for cheap geothermal power production in Iceland, the state may have greater heat resources than previous studies have suggested. "We're finding that the temperatures are 10%-15% hotter than previously realized," study co-author Ken Wisian, a University of Texas at Austin professor, said in a press briefing Jan. 24.
More: Report calls on Texas oil and gas sector to drill for geothermal energy