Using old oil wells for Geothermal Power

Renewable green energy is often criticized for its unreliability. This makes it difficult to use it for base-load power generation. Next to that, renewable energy systems usually have a huge up-front cost, which makes their implementation difficult. Many critics therefore sight against the use of renewable energy. While many renewable energy systems, such as solar and wind power, don’t have a constant energy output, geothermal power is far more reliable.

Now, geothermal power may be able to jump start renewable green energy by overcoming one of its biggest expenses: the cost of boring holes into the earth.

One of the largest expenses in geothermal power systems is boring wells thousands of feet into the earth’s crust. Currently, several companies are looking at reusing existing and abandoned oil wells to serve as geothermal wells. Particularly in Texas, United States, where there are more than half a million existing oil and gas wells. These old oil wells have high underground temperatures and pressures which is high enough to make geothermal energy extraction feasible.

Deep oil wells are often far enough into the earth that they reach to areas with temperatures as high as 300 degrees F (about 150 degrees C), or even higher, which can be useful for geothermal uses. And we are proponents of recycling, even if it is finding a new use for the old fossil infrastructure for renewable power. While each well only produces enough energy for a few hundred homes at best, connect several wells on a single acre and it can add up. A field of several wells also makes it cost effective to build the generating infrastructure that a geothermal power system would need.