World Geothermal Congress 2020+1
March - October, 2021

Geothermal Resource Decision Workshops: Hands-On Training for Geothermal Resource Professionals Using a Conceptual Model Approach

William CUMMING, Nick HINZ, Irene WALLIS, Samuel SCOTT, Richard GUNDERSON, Jonathon CLEARWATER, Steven SEWELL, Amanda LONSDALE, Ryan LIBBEY, Elisabeth EASLEY, Bridget AYLING, Greg USSHER

[Cumming Geoscience, USA]

Best practice publications in the geothermal industry emphasize integrating geoscience data to build geothermal resource conceptual models as the basis for well targeting and resource capacity assessment at all stages of exploration and development. Hands-on workshops have been developed based on actual field case histories for both magmatic volcano-hosted systems and deep-circulation fault-controlled systems, so that participants can get experience with the similarities and differences in approach and decision making for these different types of systems. These workshops are directed at geoscientists, researchers, engineers and managers who wish to better appreciate how geothermal conceptual models are constructed and how they are used to support an effective resource decision risk assessment process. During these workshops, short lectures introduce the components of geothermal conceptual models and how they are constrained using the basic physics of hot water buoyantly flowing through rock in a manner that can be predicted by combining evidence from geochemistry, geology and geophysics. The exercises using real data from geothermal fields are interspersed among the lectures to provide participants an opportunity, within small teams and with the assistance of expert coaches, to design conceptually effective exploration surveys, interpret real geoscience data in an integrated geothermal context, build resource conceptual models, complete well target and resource capacity risk assessments, interpret drilling results to critically review and update conceptual models, propose follow-up drilling programs, and recommend constructing a power plant or terminating the investment. Based on experience with over 50 of these workshops conducted over 20 years for geothermal developers, conferences and universities, in 2020 the program was successfully adapted to an online remote format that provides the flexibility of infinite virtual whiteboards for group exercises more efficiently supported by lectures and coaching from worldwide experts. Plans for additional curriculum development include freely available online lectures that would replace the presentations during the workshops so that the hands-on exercises can be more effectively completed in a typical two day format of an industry workshop or in an online seminar format extended over several months. In addition, exercises are being developed based on a wider variety of geothermal settings so that participants can choose workshops that are more closely analogous to the types of resource decisions that they are encountering in their exploration, development or research work.

        Topic: Geothermal Education Paper Number: 09047

         Session 9A: Geothermal Education 3 [Tuesday 13th April 2021, 04:00 pm] (UTC-8)
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