Geothermal energy plays a critical role in California’s energy mix. With more than 650 active, high-temperature (fluids over 212 degrees F) wells that tap into geothermal fields, California is the largest generator of electricity from geothermal energy in the United States. The Geysers Geothermal Field, in the Mayacamas Mountains northeast of Santa Rosa, is the largest producing geothermal field in the world. Today, geothermal energy accounts for about 6% of electricity generated in California—but it has the potential to an become even more significant source as California pursues an energy transition.
Charlene Wardlow will present an overview of California’s geothermal resources—current operations and development prospects—and will provide a “primer” on geothermal energy: exploration, drilling methods, well design & construction. The extreme volumes and extreme temperatures in geothermal development will surprise many petroleum engineers unfamiliar with geothermal.