Clean, sustainable geothermal energy is a very attractive energy source. However, the capital costs needed to tap into geothermal energy are significant, making it important to minimize risks associated with site selection.
According to William Glassley of Earth System Sciences, a Santa Fe consulting company that provides analysis of data for evaluating geothermal resources, the type of analysis required to minimize risk is complex, and the availability of sophisticated modeling tools for this purpose is limited.
Glassley, along with partners from Geo-Risk and TERRAMAR, Inc., also of Santa Fe, formulated the idea of a software tool using statistical methods to conduct resource evaluation and risk analysis. Because no one in the consortium had all the technical expertise to make this software a reality, they reached out to NMSBA, which in turn paired them with Dylan Harp of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Harp was able to apply his expertise with tools used in decision support for remediation and monitoring of contaminated groundwater. Harp helped adapt existing analysis and visualization tools to geothermal exploration.
As a result of this leveraged project, the Santa Fe companies are using the revamped suite of tools to bring geothermal exploration into the 21st century.The software gives all three companies a distinct competitive edge in the global marketplace, with each pursuing million-dollar contracts. This competitive advantage has encouraged members of the global geothermal community to seek further collaborations with these small New Mexico companies.