Managing Sustainable Design for Geothermal Plants: the Engineerand#8217;s Perspective

Chun Chin
POWER Engineers, Hailey Idaho, USA

Joshua Gunderson
POWER Engineers, Hailey Idaho, USA

Joe Stippel
POWER Engineers, Hailey Idaho, USA

Matt Fishman
POWER Engineers, Hailey Idaho, USA

Gudrun Sævarsdottir
Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland

William Harvey
Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110571249

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:3, s. 1249-1256

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The fast pace of project development; design; and execution of power generation projects; together with the nature of Engineering-Procurement-Construction (EPC) contracts popular in the industry and to banks; often make sustainability considerations a grudging afterthought to the contractor or owner. Although careful consideration of technical; environmental; and social impacts may have been part of the up-front permitting process; the control wielded by skilled engineers during the detailed design process; if implemented in an educated and structured fashion with the owner; and in an EPC environment; with buy-in from the contractor; can result in plant designs that better benefit the local community in dimensions beyond thermal efficiency. This paper will present a structured review process developed by the authors; which is targeted toward the specific considerations of geothermal power projects. This procedure may be applied to other renewable projects; especially those with similarly complex processing systems such as biofuel refineries or solar thermal projects. The review process is performed with the owner and is documented to demonstrate upon completion the project’s commitment to sustainable principles. These audit principles provide a platform to educate owners on topics such as alternative methods of construction best suited to the local conditions; workforce; and carbon footprint; project management structures to maximize local content and knowledge transfer; and assessment of all resource and revenue streams from the plant in addition to electrical production. The paper describes the way in which geothermal plants have and require a closer relationship with the local community; and strengthening this relationship is the goal of these processes.


Geothermal; Sustainability reviews; Local content; Project management


[1] Deloitte; Geothermal Risk Mitigation Strategies Report; Prepared for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Geothermal Program. 2008.

[2] P. Hardi and T. Zdan; Assessing Sustainable Development: Principles in Practice; International Institute for Sustainable Development; 1997.

[3] International Hydropower Association; Sustainability Assessment Protocol; 2006.

[4] T. Dunford; M. Fishman; K. Wallace; M. Ralph; and W. Harvey; Engineering Local Value: Case Studies from Olkaria and Beyond. GRC Transactions; Vol. 34; 2010; pp. 186-190.

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