GNS Science commissioned Castalia to estimate the economic potential of supercritical geothermal (SCGT) for New Zealand. The analysis confirms that SCGT presents an exciting frontier for renewable energy generation and utilisation that could meet a significant component of New Zealand's renewable electricity demand beyond 2037.
Download slide deck here (from NZGW breakfast forum presentation).
NZ ELECTRICITY LANDSCAPE
New Zealand’s electricity demand will grow by around 20% by 2037 and by 50% by 2050, requiring generation capacity of between 14 to 17 GW according to the grid operator, Transpower. Population growth and the switch to electrification for transport and industrial use as decarbonisation progresses are expected to drive this demand.
SCGT presents a significant opportunity to provide the generation capacity to meet this future electricity demand and contribute to climate change policy commitments. However, until now, due to a lack of knowledge of SCGT’s potential, key Government policy and climate change agencies have not included the potential benefits of SCGT for electricity generation (or other energy use) in their policy analysis and advice.
The Castalia report changes that.
KEY MESSAGES FROM THE CASTALIA REPORT
1. SCGT has the potential to be an abundant, least-cost, zero-emissions and reliable source of energy for electricity generation and other industrial applications. 30,000 GWh of energy could be available.
2. SCGT generation could be available from as early as 2037, but this requires:
a. Focussed investment to overcome known technical challenges.
b. Policy and regulatory alignment.
3. 1,400 MW of reliable, year-round, generation capacity will be economic to build in a “gas generation permitted” scenario from 2037 out to 2050 (Figure 1 below, left chart) even assuming high SCGT development costs relative to “conventional geothermal”, as shown in Figure 2 (below).
4. 2,000 MW of reliable, year-round, generation capacity will be economic to build in a 100% renewable electricity scenario from 2037 out to 2050 (Fig 1 below, right chart) even assuming high SCGT development costs relative to “conventional geothermal”, as shown in Figure 2 (below).
5. SCGT could also find application in "power to X" and direct use opportunities, such as producing biofuels or heat to a mega dairy processing facility.