Geothermal is an essential element in SMUD’s renewable portfolio as they seek to meet the state mandate of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and beyond. As biomass and nuclear become less available, renewable sources—like geothermal– will have to make up the difference in order to meet California’s 50% renewable portfolio standard. As California’s nuclear capacity has diminished over the last few years it is very likely that the last nuclear power station will be shut off in the next decade. Natural gas is relatively inexpensive, readily available and is increasingly used to meet demand. However, it is not renewable and counts against the 50% renewable mandate.
A geothermal plant is a proven renewable energy source and can meet fluctuating needs, such as those caused by the intermittency of solar and wind power. In a 2010 study by the Geothermal Energy Association, geothermal plants provided more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity to 24 countries worldwide. As a continuous, naturally replenishing source of energy, geothermal provides consistent power productions and near-zero emissions. It is called “baseload power” because geothermal provides power around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
How does Cyrq Geothermal Plants work?
Cyrq uses binary technology with two closed loop systems. In the first closed-loop system, the hot geothermal fluid is pumped from the geothermal reservoir to a heat exchanger. In the heat exchanger, heat from the geothermal fluid is transferred to a working fluid contained in the second, separate, and closed-loop system. This working fluid powers the turbines, generating electricity.
The geothermal fluid is then re-injected into the same geothermal reservoir it came from to be naturally reheated resulting in no consumption of the geothermal resource. Neither the geothermal fluid nor the working fluid comes in contact with one another, and neither is exposed to air. Both the geothermal fluid and the working fluid stay enclosed in their own closed loop system the entire time they are in the power plant.