While the ten speakers at the virtual seminar generally focused on geothermal, many of their comments could be applied to the energy transition itself.
“We need to embrace risk, find ways to mitigate risk, and learn how to communicate and understand risk from different perspectives, from the capital market, the banking side, the development side, the community side. Then we can drive the [energy] transition into a transformation,” said Alexander Helling, CEO of Baseload Capital, an investment firm in Sweden focusing on geothermal projects that organized “The Earth Has Power. Let’s Switch It On.” The June 3 seminar, the third in a series, was attended by some 700 people from around the world.
Could geothermal energy actually contribute to the carbon-dioxide emissions we are trying to curtail? What is the impact of geothermal on land use? And what about seismicity? Could geothermal drilling trigger earthquakes?
What about seismicity? Brommer, citing serious seismic incidences in the past related to geothermal drilling, believes the risk is underrated and “This needs to be taken as seriously as we can, because it stops projects from happening.”
“The biggest risk a geothermal developer sees is probably the cost related to drilling,” said Pernilla Wihlborg, Baseload’s chief operating officer.
To address different approaches to that risk, Wihlborg introduced Tim Latimer, co-founder and CEO of Fervo Energy, and Carlos Araque, co-founder and CEO of Quaise, Inc.
Fervo Energy is deploying new technologies like distributed fiber optic sensing that Latimer hopes will have the same effect on the geothermal industry.