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CEIC-11-05

"Incorporating Seismic Concerns in Site Selection for Enhanced Geothermal Power Generation"
Enes Hoşgör, Jay Apt and Baruch Fischhoff

Abstract:
Enhanced geothermal electric generation systems (EGS) may provide significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, if they can be successfully sited. One potential threat to that siting is induced seismicity, which has led to EGS projects being stopped in Switzerland and Germany. We create and implement a framework for identifying regions with low risk of induced seismicity risk. Using a widely known and used model with high spatial resolution, we find that, to a first approximation, 60% of the best areas for EGS plants based on purely geological considerations meet this standard. Taking advantage of this potential requires two next steps in these regions. One is using the best available tools for local modeling of triggered seismicity, rather than the coarse national model used here. The second is creating a viable social process for securing the informed consent of local communities.

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