Geothermal power is expected to surge to record levels in the next four years, with the annual number of new wells more than doubling, energy analysts say.

Global investment in geothermal activity is projected to exceed $ 1 billion in 2021 before rising to $ 3 billion in 2026. «Oil and gas companies are once again interested in geothermal drilling» according to consultancy Rystad Energy. For the first time this year, the number of wells drilled globally will exceed 200 and rise to around 500 annually in 2025, it said.

Over the last couple of years, there has been a sharp increase in interest in the geothermal sector, both from start-ups and from companies historically focused on oil and gas.

Giorgia Bettin, a geothermal researcher at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, said participation by oil and gas is particularly important in accelerating geothermal. These industries have the necessary and competent workforce to be profitable in geothermal.

Progress in geothermal technology, namely, advanced AGS and EGS geothermal systems, expand opportunities creating benefits for future energy security. Because, these systems use human-made rather than naturally occurring geothermal reservoirs, so they are not limited by location. It turns out that AGS and EGS are more affordable and can reduce costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Companies are encouraged to invest in research and development thanks to governments’ climate goals, including geothermal targets and lower prices in adopting new technologies. The oil and gas industries are ready for a change to counter the climate crisis and the effect it has on the planet.

Rystad Energy noted that the geographic conditions required by traditional technologies – reservoir temperatures of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit located at a depth of around 2,000 meters – have also hindered the scalability of geothermal in the past.

Hence the achievement of geothermal targets depends on how actively countries pursue the advancement of AGE and EGS technology.
According to the International Energy Agency, globally, approximately 500 megawatts of geothermal capacity have been added each year between 2015 and 2020, a pace still not fast enough to reach the zero-emission from the traditional energy sector by 2070.

But given the increase in drilling activity in the last six years and the potential to repurpose some existing oil and gas infrastructure for geothermal power generation, the likelihood of actually meeting those goals seems promising.

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