Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

To accelerate the renewable energy revolution, new energy storage technology is needed, and nickel-hydrogen batteries are (finally) in the running (photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL).

Clean Power

Comparing The Net Value of Geothermal, Wind, Solar, & Solar+Storage In The Western United States

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of a new Berkeley Lab analysis — “Mind the Gap: Comparing the Net Value of Geothermal, Wind, Solar, and Solar+Storage in the Western United States” — in the journal Renewable Energy.

Studies show that a diverse portfolio of zero-carbon resources will be needed to decarbonize the U.S. electricity sector, and that high-capacity-factor renewable resources like geothermal could become particularly important in later stages of decarbonization as the capacity contribution of variable, weather-dependent resources like wind and solar declines with increasing market share. Yet while wind, solar, and — more recently — storage have all seen significant U.S. deployment in recent years, deployment of new geothermal plants has barely budged over the same period. We explain this disparity in historical deployment by analyzing empirical price data from wholesale energy and capacity markets (Figure 1A-1C) and power purchase agreements (PPAs, Figure 1D), which reveal that geothermal has historically offered a lower “net value” — i.e., energy value plus capacity value minus PPA price — than these other resources in the western United States (Figure 2).


Figure 1. Historical energy value (A), capacity value (B), combined energy and capacity value (C), and PPA prices (D) of PV, wind, geothermal, and PV+storage (PV+S) in the West. Energy value is the product of each resource’s hourly generation profile and the coincident hourly real-time wholesale energy prices at the nearest pricing node. Capacity value is the product of each resource’s capacity credit—which reflects its contribution towards resource adequacy requirements—multiplied by the prevailing capacity price. The “(100%)” or “(50%)” designation following “PV+S” refers to the assumed 4-hour storage ratio (aka battery:PV capacity). Courtesy of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Figure 2. Historical net value of PV, wind, geothermal, and PV+storage (PV+S) in the West. The “(100%)” or “(50%)” designation following “PV+S” refers to the assumed 4-hour storage ratio (aka battery:PV capacity). Courtesy of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Looking ahead through 2026 — the initial target year for the California Public Utility Commission’s “mid-term reliability” procurement order — continued growth in the market share of wind, solar, and storage should improve geothermal’s relative market value, yet perhaps not enough to overcome the persistent cost gap between geothermal and these other, lower-cost resources. In the face of this challenging market outlook, continued policy intervention and R&D investments may be warranted to sustain and amplify the geothermal industry’s contributions towards a reliable, decarbonized power sector.

We thank the US Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office for funding this work, and hope you find it to be of use.

Article and Graphs Courtesy of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.


You May Also Like


When is a battery component a battery material? When the Treasury department says it is and that may lead to some drama on Capitol...

Clean Power

New Berkeley Lab study finds a dramatic increase in estimated project output coupled with a decrease in surrounding sound levels for future turbines as...

Clean Transport

When it comes to energy efficient transportation in America, no transportation option is better than the railroads. They have been the freight transportation backbone...

Clean Power

Berkeley Lab study shows how deep cost reductions in clean technology and India’s renewable and lithium edge can enable a pathway for cost-effective energy...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.