Geothermal Alliance

Texas “energy transition” group harbors a number of Oil & Gas giants

Part of the “Green Wave” (shoutout to Tulane sports) is denoting which companies are still making that transition, and noting what effect longtime oil and gas companies still have on the market.

With this in mind, one of the most intriguing of all startups is the newly-minted Texas Geothermal Energy Alliance. This group, unveiled January 13, is composed of a few companies responsible for mass energy production over the past century. Halliburton, Repsol, Chevron, Baker Hughes, CenterPoint, and GeothermEx are all on the roster. 

TxGEA includes representatives from the oilfield service sector, oil & gas operators, utilities, start-up companies working to advance geothermal relevant technologies, scientists and engineers from several Texas universities, as well as leading environmental organizations advocating Texas public policy solutions.

Barry Smitherman, a past chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and a past chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, is guiding the formation of TxGEA. In an official statement debuting the group, Smitherman said: “The rise of geothermal energy is coming at a pivotal time in Texas.  The technological advances, coupled with energy market incentives and a supportive legislative and regulatory framework, will unleash tremendous geothermal energy potential, as well as position Texas as the global epicenter of next-generation geothermal innovation.”

Cindy Taff, a 36-year oil industry veteran, is the COO of Sage Geosystems, another member of the alliance. Her viewpoint emphasized the transferable skill sets, methodology, and knowledge of those in both industries: “The intellectual capital of the oil and gas industry will provide a pivotal advantage for rapid geothermal industry growth and scale.  In turn, geothermal resource development will provide new opportunities for the Texas oil and gas sector, leveraging core competencies while developing a virtually inexhaustible clean energy resource in the state.”

Besides providing heating and cooling directly to industrial and residential consumers, geothermal power is a renewable energy source that offers firm and flexible solutions to a changing power system. Geothermal provides a range of services including baseload, regulation, load following or energy imbalance, spinning reserve, non-spinning reserve, and replacement or supplemental reserve.

Geothermal plants can operate 24 hours a day with a steady output, regardless of environmental conditions. They are also not subject to the unpredictability and voltage swings that variable energy resources face. Geothermal plants can ramp up or down quickly, allowing them to adjust to the changing needs of the power system and act as a flexible power source in addition to baseload.

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