Introduction to Scenarios


Business-as-Usual (BAU)
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)
Enhanced geothermal systems, or EGS, are the most significant of the unconventional geothermal resources and are characterized by the presence of a thermal energy source in the Earth's crust that lacks the permeability and/or groundwater necessary for economic energy recovery.
EGS resources are assumed to become available for commercial deployment in the BAU and TI scenarios starting in 2030. EGS direct-use district heating systems are cost effective in both the BAU and TI scenarios. The heating and cooling sector can take advantage of EGS resources that are shallower (lower drilling costs) and lower in temperature (more resource availability over a larger area) than in the electric sector, where EGS resources are only cost effective in the TI scenario.
District Heating Scenario Comparison

Economic Potential


In the non-electric sector, technology improvements could enable more than 17,500 geothermal district-heating installations nationwide.

Economic potential is driven by capital costs and fuel costs and can vary with time as these factors change. Therefore, the economic potential (and the related market potential) of a given county can increase and/or decrease with time.

When running the scenario, notice that there is a significant increase in economic potential around the year 2030, when EGS become feasible and available for commercial development.

Economic vs. Market vs. Installed

Economic potential is that portion of geothermal district heat capacity that is cost effective to recover based on technology costs and anticipated revenues.

Market potential indicates how much of and how quickly the resources could actually be adopted and deployed from the economic potential, given market conditions such as regulatory environment, capital availability and investor interest, consumer demand, and energy competition.

Installed is the actual installed capacity of geothermal district heating projected by modeling under each scenario.

The GeoVision analysis only considered the economic potential for direct-use district-heating systems for the contiguous United States.

District Heat Economic Potential by County