Deep Geothermal – The ethical investment for the energy transition.
20 December 2021
The story of deep geothermal has potential to mirror offshore wind’s swift and steep escalation from niche to mainstream. Reusing end-of-life wells to draw heat from the ground for large scale heating, cooling and power production is a prime target for smart ethical investment, forecasts Sital Joshi, new interim Chief Financial Officer for geothermal delivery company CeraPhi Energy.
COP26 left us in no doubt that energy systems must change quickly and financial funders, public and private, have leading roles in making that change happen.
Arguably, funders have a responsibility to deliver not just the energy transition but also the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We believe geothermal is best placed to deliver on both. Funding geothermal is an ethical investment because it brings huge social impact globally by taking energy to the consumer alleviating fuel poverty and improving lives of normal people.
COP26 reinforced ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) as the ‘first tick in the box’ of any investment appraisal. Geothermal assures this and provides secure long-term yields. It is best placed to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
To accelerate geothermal energy’s part in the energy transition jigsaw by getting commercial projects moving and energy into the system, the message must hit home to investors, the government, and potential clients that geothermal can be harnessed everywhere, technologies have advanced to minimise drilling risk, and are insurable, and the non-intermittent and baseload nature of the power supplied aligns geothermal to UN SDG.
This alignment is crucial. At Ceraphi, we believe that we are pioneering ESG in the sector and are deploying significant resource in ensuring we provide leadership in not just high ESG performance but, pursuing UN SDG also. It is our organisational DNA.
Our goal is more than 100GW of geothermal energy capacity in the next 10 years, much of that by repurposing old oil and gas wells to draw up heat for direct heat and cooling, and power generation.
By reusing old assets by using bespoke technology to draw up geothermal heat instantly dispels the biggest obstacle to geothermal, the risk of drilling.
Access that geothermal energy can only be produced where there are volcanos and seismic activity is also a log-held misconception. Heat is everywhere. The deeper you drill the hotter it gets. Effectively mining that heat and moving it from the sub surface to the surface to use as energy anywhere and everywhere.
CAPEX, previously a blocker for development, will be significantly reduced with approaches that remove the drilling and explorational risk previously encountered within the conventional geothermal space.
Reusing end or nearly at end-of-life assets to tap into the baseload, plentiful energy under the ground that is not dependent on weather like wind and solar and is largely accessible everywhere and anywhere. It also takes away liability for plugging and abandoning the wells by the owner.
Our advanced geothermal system process using a closed loop system means that it is isolated from any sub surface formation that included fluids, so no seismicity is created.
Our order book is getting larger, with growing demand, and my new role is to secure funding to implement the business plan and steward the company, that has a very strong management team of seasoned oil and gas professionals and entrepreneurs, largely with exploration backgrounds, financially for the challenges ahead to ensure it’s resourced appropriately to deliver them.
As a founder of Boustead renewables with experience in working with high growth SMEs, has, I understand where strengths and weaknesses can exist but also foresee opportunities and threats during a high growth phase.
I have experience in solar and emerging storage technologies, arranging funding for more than 200MW of solar PV and energy storage projects, as well as a current pipeline of 3GW of various technologies.
In terms of funding, I believe oil majors –have a part to play. In making large-scale geothermal project happen, and the only way is collaboration on funding and resources and be proactive in joint ventures.
They must move towards collaboration and change their culture. They have the skill set and the money for the energy transition.
CeraPhi has a mandated vison to enable the installation of over 500 GW of energy in the next 30 years which should make a significant impact on carbon reduction and, in turn, provide significant benefits for communities around the globe through not only adding clean energy, but also unlocking access to employment, economic development, food, and water in some of the most underdeveloped regions around the globe.
The government paid lip service to offshore wind for 25 years and relied on the big companies to develop it. Geothermal will happen, but the expectation is that oil and gas with transferrable skills will do it themselves.
It will happen. It the ethical investment for the energy transition.