Geothermal Potential Reduction in Cost of Energy

Most geothermal resources that could now be developed in Alaska are larger than needed to satisfy local demand, or significantly remote requiring substantial investment in transmission lines. According to the paper, ‘Factors Affecting Costs of Geothermal Power Development’, capital costs for a geothermal project can be broken down as follows. It is important to note that these relative costs can vary significantly depending on remoteness of the resource and access to equipment and technologies:


Total capital costs, including all elements of development shown in the figure above, ranged from $3000 - $3900 per kW for a large (100MW) plant in 2007 dollars. A smaller plant, such as the one installed at Chena Hot Springs, is expected to cost more. Considering exploration and all other elements of the Chena project, the total capital cost of the project was $6275 per kW.

Operating and maintenance costs for a geothermal power plant are an estimated $15 MW-$30 per MW, or 1.5¢-3¢ per kWh. For the Chena project, O&M costs were calculated at 2¢ per kWh.

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