Abstract for: Using System Dynamics for Uncertainty Analysis and Integrated Risk Assessment in Geothermal Energy Development

We present a system dynamics model called ‘GT-Mod’ for assessing the development and management of geothermal energy production. The model simulates the entire geothermal energy cycle by representing the major components as a set of connected sub-systems that include the power plant, the injection well, the geologic reservoir, the production well, the surface feeder and distribution pipes, the pumps, and the economics. GT-Mod uses a Latin Hypercube Monte-Carlo approach to propagate uncertainties in various input parameters to calculate the systems’ thermal and power performance over the lifetime of the project and to assemble a probability distribution of the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) that is used to estimate the integrated risk as a function of input uncertainty. Integrated risk is the summation of the product of consequence and probability over all probabilities and represents a comprehensive metric for benefit analysis that includes the full range of uncertainties in a particular problem. GT-Mod is also used to bound viable solution spaces and to identify areas of uncertainty that have the greatest influence on risk. An example based on a hypothetical but realistic geothermal site is presented that demonstrates the models application and highlights the suitability of the system dynamics approach.