Geothermal

Solving the Energy Trilemma: Fervo Energy Unlocks Scalable, 24/7, Carbon-Free Energy in the United States

February 7, 2023
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As climate change worsens and energy prices spike, power buyers have begun to confront an “energy trilemma” that prizes clean, reliable, and affordable power. Over 110 organizations – from Google to the United Nations – have signed the 24/7 Carbon-free Energy Compact, signaling a new era in energy procurement. This growing demand for a stable, fully decarbonized electricity sector creates unprecedented momentum for Fervo’s next-generation geothermal technology, an always-on, cost-effective climate solution.

Our History

Fervo began in 2017 with the thesis that advances in drilling technology from oil and gas could revolutionize geothermal power.

Long known as the “forgotten renewable,” geothermal has suffered from high costs, geographic constraints, and production uncertainty. While oil and gas companies pioneered horizontal drilling and improved subsurface analytics, geothermal developers continued to rely on outdated drilling and measurement techniques that delivered inconsistent results. Historically, a third of geothermal wells have proven uneconomic.  

Fervo founders recognized a unique opportunity to transform the geothermal industry by applying proven drilling, measurement, and completion techniques to a high potential industry at a time when demand for 24/7 carbon-free energy was building.

Our Approach

Fervo has built, tested, and proven a proprietary technology system to revitalize the role geothermal will play in the clean energy transition.

Precision directional drilling enables Fervo to access more geothermal reservoirs per well, cutting project costs and variability. We have drilled the first two horizontal geothermal wells in history at our commercial pilot in Winnemucca, NV. The clean energy generated from this drilling will help power Google’s data centers in Nevada.

Fervo has also introduced multi-zone completion techniques to geothermal development to evenly distribute the flow of injection fluids across the entire geothermal reservoir. Enhancing flow distribution will dramatically extend the lifespans of Fervo’s geothermal systems.

Finally, robust measurement and diagnostics via distributed fiber optic sensing allows Fervo to assess subsurface temperatures, pressures, and permeability with greater precision than traditional geothermal. With a better understanding of the subsurface, we can more easily identify geothermal reservoirs suitable for development.

This three-pronged approach – horizontal drilling, multi-zone completion, and distributed fiber optic sensing – builds a strong foundation for the expansion of next-generation geothermal.

Our Path Forward

To date, Fervo has raised over $180 million from leading clean energy investors such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Capricorn, and DCVC and government institutions including  Berkeley National Laboratory, ARPA-E, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Fervo has used this funding to ink and execute the world’s first corporate agreement to develop a next-generation geothermal power project. We have also signed 93MW of power purchase agreements with California clean energy providers, helping further decarbonize and strengthen the California grid.

This progress marks just the beginning of Fervo’s journey to make next-generation geothermal a foundational part of a fully decarbonized electricity sector. By 2030, we aim to own and operate over 1 GW of geothermal projects capable of directing 24/7 carbon-free electricity not only to utilities but to behind-the-meter partners including direct air capture, hydrogen production, and other energy-intensive industries.

Next-generation geothermal could provide 250 GW of potential capacity in the U.S. alone, a substantial enough quantity to solve the energy trilemma and ensure clean, reliable, and affordable power for all. Fervo is primed to lead the charge.

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