Project Innerspace: Deep Dive
This report was last updated in November 2023. Download the report here, or read the full text below.
Table of contents
Giving Green classifies Project InnerSpace as one of our top recommendations to address climate change.
Conventional geothermal projects are highly limited by location, but Project InnerSpace can help fast-track next-generation geothermal technologies capable of unlocking geothermal energy from more places. We think its resource mapping and funding efforts can help reduce project risks and attract more traditional investors, fostering innovation and driving down costs.
Project InnerSpace has an ambitious plan for expanding access to geothermal energy, especially in the world’s top population centers in the Global South. We think its theory of change is backed by strong evidence, and we have been impressed by the thought leadership it has built. Project InnerSpace reported a funding gap of $18 million for its global geothermal resource and prospecting map and would use additional funds to build this product.
What is Project InnerSpace? Project InnerSpace is an organization that focuses on expanding geothermal energy globally. Its core activities include mapping subsurface data that can help characterize geothermal resources and supporting geothermal projects that may otherwise experience a funding “valley of death.” It also builds momentum for geothermal energy in the public and private sectors by hosting its annual PIVOT conference, participating in efforts to roadmap geothermal expansion in the US, and increasing awareness of the geothermal sector.
How could Project InnerSpace reduce greenhouse gases? Geothermal energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing carbon-free heat and electricity instead of burning fossil fuels. We think Project InnerSpace can reduce greenhouse gases by increasing how quickly next-generation geothermal technologies are deployed relative to the counterfactual.
Project InnerSpace’s theory of change: We believe that Project InnerSpace’s global geothermal resources map can reduce early-stage risks for geothermal companies by providing relevant data, decreasing exploration costs, and shortening pre-development timelines. We also think increased data access can support policy development and advocacy. Additionally, we believe that funding early-stage geothermal projects can reduce financial risks and bring in more investors. We believe building momentum for geothermal energy in the US has secondary effects that increase the likelihood that supportive policies for geothermal technologies are passed. Combined, we think Project InnerSpace’s activities can speed up the rate at which next-generation geothermal technologies are deployed and costs go down.
Is there room for more funding? Project InnerSpace said it would use the marginal dollar donated to fund its geothermal resources mapping project, which has a self-reported funding gap of $18 million. Receiving an additional $100,000 beyond Project InnerSpace’s budget would enable it to hire program managers who could help conduct “deep dives” into new cities or regions for its map. It would use an additional $1 million to support two to three research projects related to its mapping efforts.
Are there major co-benefits or adverse effects? A major co-benefit of Project InnerSpace’s work is its potential for job creation. One potential downside of its work is the risk of conflicts of interest arising from the involvement of oil and gas industry participants in expanding the geothermal sector. We describe geothermal energy’s major co-benefits and adverse effects more generally in our geothermal energy deep dive report.
Key uncertainties and open questions: Our key uncertainties include the expected value of different next-generation geothermal technologies and Project InnerSpace’s continued ability to execute as it scales its organization.
Bottom line / next steps: We recommend Project InnerSpace as a top nonprofit organization based on its potential for high impact, its influence in the geothermal sector, and our assessment of its ability to execute. We also think its emphasis on fast iteration and quickly getting next-generation technologies on a learning curve complements that of Clean Air Task Force, another Giving Green recommendation, whose geothermal workstream focuses on super-hot rock geothermal energy.
What is Project InnerSpace?
Project InnerSpace is a US-based organization that focuses on expanding geothermal energy globally. It includes both a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arm and a for-profit impact fund. For more information on geothermal energy, please see our geothermal deep dive report.
Project InnerSpace describes its core activities as two “phases” running in parallel. Phase 1 focuses on mapping subsurface data that can help characterize geothermal resources near major metropolitan areas. Phase 2 focuses on supporting geothermal projects that may otherwise experience a funding “valley of death.” Outside of these core activities, Project InnerSpace is also building momentum for geothermal energy in the public and private sectors.
Project InnerSpace was founded in 2022. It is led by Jamie Beard, the founder of the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization, the Texas Geothermal Institute, and the PIVOT conference series, which focuses on geothermal issues; she also serves on the board of the Texas Geothermal Energy Alliance, an industry association. In August 2023, Project InnerSpace reported that its staff includes 17 full-time equivalent employees.
How could Project InnerSpace help address climate change?
Project InnerSpace’s strategies
Geothermal energy can help address climate change by providing carbon-free heat and electricity instead of burning fossil fuels. As a source of clean firm power, geothermal energy is well-suited to complement intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar. Consequently, we think an energy portfolio that includes geothermal energy provides a more feasible path to net-zero emissions than one based on intermittent renewables alone. Next-generation geothermal technologies, such as enhanced and advanced geothermal systems, could be especially promising for expanding geothermal deployment globally. For more information, please see our geothermal energy deep dive report.
Project InnerSpace helps companies working on next-generation geothermal technologies reduce financial risks and bridge funding gaps. We think this support can accelerate learning-by-doing and drive down costs faster than the counterfactual. We summarize Project InnerSpace’s activities below:
Phase 1: Global subsurface resource characterization
Project InnerSpace is developing a publicly available map of relevant subsurface data (e.g., heat depth, rock types) to help characterize geothermal resources. The map is intended to help with resource characterization globally and will have higher resolution data near major metropolitan areas to help with project siting. This higher resolution data will include subsurface and surface data at 1-kilometer resolution and techno-economic analyses.
Project InnerSpace will collate and digitize existing subsurface data from sources such as oil and gas companies and geological surveys. In places where there have not been oil and gas drilling operations, Project InnerSpace will extrapolate based on known geological features and water well data collected from local agencies and use artificial intelligence to predict the data’s suitability using training data from places with oil and gas wells.
Resource characterization mapping will begin with Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Project InnerSpace prioritized locations based on where the world's largest population centers will be in 2050 and where additional coal and natural gas capacity is expected. Project InnerSpace said that, ideally, Phase 1 would include data useful for the world’s top 300 population centers.
We understand that Project InnerSpace’s map could help reduce financial risks related to exploration costs and unlock more private investments from traditional project financing mechanisms, which could accelerate deployment.
Phase 2: Financing geothermal projects
Project InnerSpace’s nonprofit fund will support community-scale geothermal projects, such as geothermal heat for greenhouses and heating-and-cooling, in low- and middle-income countries. Project InnerSpace said these projects tend to cost between $5,000 and $50,000 and often go unfunded because existing financing mechanisms do not support them.
In late 2023, Project InnerSpace will launch its for-profit impact fund, the Geothermal Exploration Opportunities Fund, which will operate separately from Project InnerSpace. The fund will support teams working on first-of-their-kind projects. Funded projects must involve technology transfer between the oil and gas industry and the geothermal industry. Project InnerSpace said this work could help reduce costs through learning-by-doing and catalyze more funding from traditional funding mechanisms.
Building momentum for geothermal energy in the public and private sectors – Our understanding is that Project InnerSpace has helped generate interest in geothermal energy on several different fronts. For example, Project InnerSpace hosts PIVOT, a global conference series on geothermal energy that aims to “build momentum within the oil and gas industry toward making an urgent pivot to geothermal energy production.” Project InnerSpace has also participated in efforts to make a case for geothermal investment in Texas and roadmap its future.
Project InnerSpace’s theory of change
We think Project InnerSpace's core activities—mapping geothermal resources and financing geothermal projects—can lower financial risks for companies and boost geothermal deployment relative to the counterfactual (Figure 1). We also think Project InnerSpace’s efforts to promote geothermal energy can have secondary effects that raise the odds of passing supportive US policies. We also believe Project InnerSpace’s mapping efforts can be a useful tool for policy development and advocacy in its mapped areas, making it more likely that supportive policies will be passed. We think these inputs can speed up geothermal innovation, enhance global spillover effects, and accelerate emissions reductions compared to the counterfactual.
Figure 1: Project InnerSpace’s theory of change
We examine the evidence for how well Project InnerSpace executes its inputs in the sections below.
Assessment of Project InnerSpace’s ability to execute its activities
Developing a global subsurface resource characterization map
Our understanding is that legacy subsurface data are scattered across agencies and oil and gas companies and that this data could be helpful for geothermal resource mapping. We are optimistic about Project InnerSpace’s ability to develop a global subsurface resource characterization map because, according to numerous geothermal researchers and funders we have interviewed, Project InnerSpace is a highly engaged convener of different geothermal and oil and gas companies and research universities. Also, as of November 2023, it has already made several grants supporting its Phase 1 work. For example, it granted $700,000 to the International Heat Flow Commission and the German Research Centre for Geoscience GFZ, Potsdam, to support their work revising the Global Heat Flow Database. We have a positive impression of Project InnerSpace’s ability to make the connections needed for its mapping project in terms of finding the requisite data, recruiting talent, and communicating its findings. We also think it is a positive sign that Project InnerSpace is collaborating with Google on its core activities, including resource mapping, because we think Google can likely contribute its data and software capabilities.
Funding geothermal projects
We think Project InnerSpace’s nonprofit arm will probably successfully fund community-scale geothermal projects. We think these projects’ feasibility is likely high because our understanding is that they face financing barriers and not technical barriers. We have not evaluated Project InnerSpace’s for-profit impact fund.
Building momentum for geothermal energy in the public and private sectors
We have a positive impression of Project InnerSpace’s ability to build momentum for geothermal energy in the public and private sectors. For example, before Project InnerSpace’s inception, Jamie Beard played a significant role in promoting geothermal energy in Texas. Her collaborative efforts, involving several Texas academics, culminated in The Future of Geothermal in Texas report, offering evidence-based recommendations for expanding geothermal energy in the state. In 2023, Project InnerSpace initiated similar initiatives in five other states that will lead to comparable reports.
Also, Project InnerSpace, as part of a cross-industry consortium, was awarded a US Department of Energy (DOE) grant to promote technology transfer between the geothermal and oil and gas industries. Beyond direct technology transfer, we believe this work could also assist fossil fuel workers in transitioning to new jobs and make a strong case for the geothermal industry's job-creating potential.
Anecdotally, we have heard from numerous geothermal stakeholders that, despite being a new organization, Project InnerSpace has played an important role in generating excitement about geothermal energy. We believe this is reflected in Project InnerSpace’s press coverage in 2023, which includes mentions and profiles in major media outlets, including the New York Times, WIRED, and National Public Radio.
Examining the assumptions behind Project InnerSpace’s theory of change
Below, we discuss and evaluate the main assumptions related to our understanding of Project InnerSpace’s theory of change. We focus primarily on its resource characterization mapping because that is where it would most likely spend marginal donations. For each assumption, we rank whether we have low, medium, or high certainty about the assumption. Our assessment is based on both primary and secondary evidence, as well as our general impression of the plausibility of the assumption. Importantly, a number of the stages of Project InnerSpace’s theory of change may not be amenable to easy measurement or quantification, are not supported by a robust evidence base, or are expected to occur in the future but have not occurred as of yet. Additional assumptions that are related to next-generation geothermal technologies but are not specific to Project InnerSpace can be found in our geothermal energy deep dive report.
1. Resource characterization mapping addresses a substantial obstacle to increased geothermal deployment (high certainty)
We have high certainty that resource characterization mapping addresses a substantial obstacle to increased geothermal deployment.
We understand that geothermal projects face the highest level of risk in their initial stages. Specifically, before drilling and testing, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the quality of geothermal resources at a given site. During the exploration stage, developers can fail to find resources suitable for commercially viable production. (See Figure 2 for a conceptual model of risks and costs in geothermal projects.) Consequently, this high risk can hinder developers’ ability to secure funding for exploration and initial drilling, leading to delays or stalled projects. Despite directly accounting for a small portion of project costs, pre-drilling and exploratory activities are critical to project success.
Figure 2: Conceptual model of risk and cumulative costs for geothermal projects. Figure from Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, "Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation."
Therefore, we believe that geothermal resource mapping can enhance the likelihood of project success by helping with mitigating risks, shortening development timelines (and therefore reducing costs), and attracting more investors. We think this perspective aligns with some of the findings in DOE’s GeoVision report, which advocates for increased resource assessments and improved site characterizations.
We also think Project InnerSpace’s mapping could help address some issues related to data scarcity and developing effective policies. For example, the absence of accessible and relevant data has hindered the development of renewable energy in Nigeria. Indeed, geothermal’s potential in Nigeria is not yet quantified and was excluded from the International Renewable Energy Agency’s roadmap for transitioning Nigeria away from fossil fuels. We’re under the impression that improving the quality and quantity of geothermal-related in data-scarce areas could help advocates develop policy recommendations and build momentum for geothermal energy, increasing the likelihood that supportive policies are passed.
As a caveat, we think that the usefulness of the geothermal resource map will depend on data quality and representativeness. We are concerned that legacy subsurface data will be location-biased and exhibit clustering (e.g., boreholes are located close to other boreholes), which increases model uncertainty. We believe Project InnerSpace is aware of potential data quality issues and has plans to ensure quality control.
2. Project InnerSpace is speeding up resource characterization mapping in the Global South relative to the counterfactual (high certainty)
We have high certainty that Project InnerSpace is speeding up resource characterization mapping in the Global South relative to the counterfactual.
US entities working on resource characterization include the US Geological Survey and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Our understanding is that even with both those major entities working on resource characterization, the US still needs more data to reduce uncertainty and identify more resources. We think if there’s a need for more data in the Global North, there’s probably a similar need in the Global South, where funding is likely scarcer. Additionally, we believe private companies are not motivated to make global maps public since it would benefit their competitors. According to Project InnerSpace, if it did not exist, some of the mapping it plans on doing could be funded by governments, but this would probably occur on a piecemeal basis with varying quality and consistency.
3. Improved geothermal resource characterization will lead to more projects being developed, and an increased number of projects developed will lead to lower costs (medium certainty)
We have medium certainty that improved geothermal resource characterization will lead to more projects being developed and that an increased number of projects developed will lead to lower costs.
As described earlier in this section, we think that Project InnerSpace’s resource characterization and prospecting map will decrease project risks and help projects attract more investments. In turn, we think that removing these obstacles will increase the number of developed geothermal projects. However, we are unsure of how much mapping will increase the number of projects developed because exploration risks are not the only challenge that geothermal projects face. Indeed, geothermal projects face a mix of technical and non-technical barriers, and we do not think mapping is the sole solution for pushing next-generation geothermal technologies forward.
We think increasing the number of projects developed will lead to lower costs because we believe some next-generation geothermal technologies will follow a learning curve. For example, we think it is possible that enhanced geothermal systems, whereby man-made reservoirs are created by injecting water underground, can become cheaper, similar to how hydraulic fracturing became cheaper over time. Namely, both technologies can modify rock permeability and create the same wells repeatedly, enabling learning-by-doing. However, there is always considerable uncertainty over what kind of learning curve a new technology will follow. For more information, see our geothermal energy deep dive report.
Is there room for more funding?
Project InnerSpace’s current funding status
Project InnerSpace is a new organization without explicit budgets or funds in reserve. Its mapping work has an ambitious, forward-looking budget of $18 million, while as of May 2023, it has a self-reported total of $6 million in the bank. It uses this funding to pay its team and conduct Phase 1 grants.
Project InnerSpace’s major funders include the United States Department of Energy, Schmidt Futures, the Grantham Foundation, the Greenbridge Family Foundation, and the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust. Project InnerSpace said its collaboration with Google will result in in-kind but not financial support. We think it’s likely that Project InnerSpace will continue to receive funding from some subset of these funders and gain more funders as it becomes more well-known. However, we think that the scope of Project InnerSpace’s work means it can comfortably absorb a significant amount of additional funding.
The marginal dollar donated would support Project InnerSpace’s Phase 1 work.
Project InnerSpace reported a funding gap of $18 million for its mapping work. Project InnerSpace based this estimate on its assessment of the number of locations where data are stored, the amount of data that would need to be digitized, and how much it has paid for this type of work in the past. It is estimated that each additional city would cost between $300,000 and $1 million, depending on data complexity and availability. The cost breakdown of Project InnerSpace’s Phase 1 funding gap is as follows:
Table 1: Cost breakdown of Phase 1’s funding gap
Data collection and digitization: Rolling out Phase 1 in stages
Data collection and digitization: Setting up an enduring structure for Phase 1
Increasing the map’s resolution and adding techno-economic analyses
Of the $18 million, about $8 million would be spent on rolling out Phase 1 in stages based on available data and locations that Project InnerSpace sees as strategic priorities for geothermal over the coming years. Another $6 million would be used to set up an enduring structure for updating the map as new data become available. Project InnerSpace envisions a massive endeavor where thousands of academics and entities worldwide submit new data and analysis that is quality controlled, streamlined, and incorporated into the data pool regularly for years. The remaining $4 million accounts for the resources required to increase its project’s resolution and include techno-economic analyses.
Project InnerSpace said 80% of the money going towards Phase 1 would be regranted to other organizations conducting this work. Potential grantees include research universities selected through a competitive process and paid personnel for access to their data and time.
Project InnerSpace said that if it received an additional $100,000, it would hire program managers to push forward the Phase 1 work. According to Project InnerSpace, each new hire would enable a deep dive into a new region or city, and they would also be involved in data collection and digitization. It said it would spend an additional $1,000,000 on completing two or three Phase 1 research projects.
We think the numbers that Project InnerSpace estimated for its work seem reasonable, given the size of this task and the amount of labor involved. We therefore think it’s likely that Project InnerSpace can absorb more funding productively. However, we have some uncertainty about how much Phase 1 will cost in the end because Project InnerSpace’s work is the first of its kind, and there is no existing model or roadmap that we can use to estimate costs.
Project InnerSpace’s recent DOE award is highly restricted and would not fund its core activities.
In 2023, Project InnerSpace and two partner organizations received $165 million from DOE. According to Project InnerSpace, this funding is restricted and does not cover its core activities. Additionally, $155 million of this funding will be regranted through a competitive solicitation process; the remaining $10 million will be split between the partner organizations, with Project InnerSpace receiving $3 million for five years of work. Because this funding will not cover Project InnerSpace’s core activities and is relatively low when divided across five years, we think that this grant should not significantly alter our view of Project InnerSpace’s room for additional funding.
Are there major co-benefits or adverse effects?
We think the primary co-benefit of Project InnerSpace’s work is its potential for job creation. We think that promoting technology transfer from the oil and gas industry to geothermal could help former fossil fuel workers find high-paying jobs in the geothermal industry. In addition to creating jobs, this helps enable a just transition for former fossil fuel workers and could result in less backlash against the green transition from certain constituencies.
We think the primary adverse effect of Project InnerSpace’s work is the potential for conflicting interests from oil and gas involvement if new geothermal development is centralized within the oil and gas sector. We outline our concerns with oil and gas involvement in our geothermal energy deep dive report under key uncertainties and open questions.
Key uncertainties and open questions
Funding additionality – We believe Project InnerSpace has successfully found funding partners and collaborators. Also, we are under the impression that geothermal energy has received greater media attention in recent years, which we think could drive more donations to Project InnerSpace. We, therefore, think it’s possible that Project InnerSpace can ramp up funding, even in the absence of a Giving Green recommendation. Nonetheless, we think Project InnerSpace’s funding gap is large and can absorb more funding given the scale of its resource characterization mapping project. Based on this, we think a Giving Green recommendation would remain additional.
Room for more funding – There is uncertainty on the exact cost of Project InnerSpace’s resource characterization project because it is the first of its kind. Therefore, we may have overestimated Project InnerSpace’s room for more funding. At the same time, we think that it is possible that we may have done the opposite and underestimated its funding need because of the amount of labor that resource characterization mapping may entail.
Betting on different next-generation geothermal technologies – We are uncertain about the expected value of different next-generation geothermal technologies. Giving Green is hedging its bets by supporting Project InnerSpace and Clean Air Task Force (CATF), which take different approaches to advancing geothermal energy. Our understanding is that Project InnerSpace focuses on technologies that are new but further along in their development than super-hot rock geothermal, which is CATF’s primary focus. We think super-hot rock geothermal energy is less of a sure bet, but if it becomes commercially viable, it could offer cheaper and abundant carbon-free energy. Due to this uncertainty, we think it is important for us to be technology-agnostic and diversify the next-generation geothermal technologies we support.
Ability to execute as it grows – As of August 2023, Project InnerSpace expects its core team to grow from 17 full-time equivalent (FTE) to 50 FTEs by the end of 2024. Our perception is that organizations undergoing rapid growth often experience “growing pains” if they do not have sufficient operational capacity and structure to carry out their work. Project InnerSpace said it would protect against this concern by leaning on its advisors who understand scale (e.g., leaders in technology, venture capital, and impact investing) and that it is confident that it will attract the talent it needs to achieve its goals, given that international subject matter experts and entrepreneurs have approached Project InnerSpace to volunteer their time. We do not have reasons to suspect Project InnerSpace is experiencing growing pains, but we will monitor this uncertainty.
Project InnerSpace’s cost-effectiveness – We chose not to quantify Project InnerSpace’s cost-effectiveness given the high uncertainty across key parameters. Instead, our general research into the geothermal sector forms the basis of our evaluation. Our assessment of geothermal's potential to scale widely and cheaply informs our expectation that the contributions of highly effective organizations supporting next-generation geothermal technologies could influence large emissions reductions. Our analysis of the technical, policy, investment, and philanthropy landscapes enables us to identify organizational strategies that we think are highly effective. By not modeling Project InnerSpace’s organizational cost-effectiveness, we lose the ability to compare its cost-effectiveness with that of other giving opportunities. However, it’s important to note that our cost-effectiveness analyses are generally uncertain and mainly serve to check if an opportunity’s cost-effectiveness is roughly in line with our baseline for a top recommendation ($1 per ton of CO2-equivalent).
Bottom line / next steps
We classify Project InnerSpace as one of our top recommendations to address climate change. We think there is strong evidence to support its theory of change, that Project InnerSpace has positioned itself as a leader in the geothermal sector, and that it likely has room for more funding. Also, we think its strategy of fast iteration and quickly getting next-generation technologies on a learning curve complements that of CATF, another Giving Green recommendation, whose geothermal workstream focuses on superhot rock geothermal energy. We think this portfolio approach of supporting different geothermal technologies and strategies helps increase the likelihood of advancing the geothermal sector. We plan to continue assessing our key uncertainties and believe that we will be able to substantially improve our understanding of the severity and importance of these uncertainties as Project InnerSpace scales its operations in 2024.
Project InnerSpace is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the United States. As Giving Green is part of IDinsight Inc., which is itself a charitable, tax-exempt organization, we are only offering an opinion on the charitable activities of Project InnerSpace, and not on its for-profit Geothermal Exploration Opportunities Fund. This non-partisan analysis is provided for educational purposes.
We conducted expert interviews regarding Project InnerSpace to inform this deep dive. We corresponded with Project InnerSpace multiple times to stay updated on its strategic priorities, current activities, and room for more funding. We also reviewed materials on Project InnerSpace’s website and media coverage. Unless otherwise cited, information in this deep dive comes from direct correspondence with Project InnerSpace.
1. US base: “Locations (1) Primary: Houston, US.” LinkedIn, Project InnerSpace. 501(c)(3): “Project InnerSpace is a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on expanding the use of geothermal energy globally.” Project InnerSpace, “About” n.d.
2. Project InnerSpace is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the United States. As Giving Green is part of IDInsight Inc., which is itself a charitable, tax-exempt organization, we are only offering an opinion on the charitable activities of Project InnerSpace and not on its impact fund.
3. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-05-04.
4. “Project InnerSpace (InnerSpace), a multi-phase initiative focused on accelerating global geothermal prospecting and development has launched.” ThinkGeoenergy, "Project InnerSpace Launches to Accelerate Geothermal Anywhere" 2022.
5. “InnerSpace is led by Jamie Beard, an internationally recognized leader in the ‘geothermal anywhere’ movement, founder of the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization (GEO), the Texas Geothermal Institute (TGI), and the Pivot ‘From Hydrocarbons to Heat’ conference series. She serves on the Board of the Texas Geothermal Energy Alliance (TxGEA), an industry association focused on supporting the growth and development of geothermal in Texas.” ThinkGeoenergy, "Project InnerSpace Launches to Accelerate Geothermal Anywhere" 2022.
6. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
7. “Phase 1 of Project InnerSpace will produce high-resolution geothermal prospecting maps to provide information about the quality and depth of geothermal resources within a 100 kilometer radius of the world’s population centers, serving as a project development and prospecting model of accelerated development of geothermal resources. Phase 1 will convene a global team of subsurface experts to publish a freely accessible, publicly available set of geothermal resource maps, which will be utilized by industry, startups, and funding entities to reduce pre-project subsurface and project siting risk.” Project InnerSpace, "Introduction to Project InnerSpace" 2022.
8. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
9. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-05-04.
10. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
11. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
12. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
13. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
14. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
15. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
16. “PHASE II: A global deployment sprint for first-of-a-kind geothermal projects. The Geothermal Exploration Opportunities Fund (“GeoFund”) will deploy teams of innovators into the field to build first of a kind geothermal pilots. These teams will accelerate and demonstrate the unique ability of geothermal resources to decarbonize tough-to-address sectors, such as industrial processes and heat.” Project InnerSpace, “About” n.d.
17. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
18. “The goal of Phase 2 is to drive fast field development in geothermal while concurrently providing the impact of bleeding-edge technologies and methods on geothermal projects, driving down costs through learning and iteration in the field. By helping teams traverse the funding valley of death for first of their kind projects, we will unlock significant private investment for subsequent geothermal projects by traditional funding mechanisms.” Project InnerSpace, "Introduction to Project InnerSpace" 2022.
19. PIVOT: “PIVOT is a global conference series launched in 2020 featuring thought leaders and change makers who are building the future of geothermal energy. PIVOT’s mission is to build momentum within the oil and gas industry toward making an urgent pivot to geothermal energy production, with the goal of global, scalable geothermal development across the industry by 2030.” Project InnerSpace, “Pivot 2023” 2023. Giving Green note: Project InnerSpace hosts PIVOT in partnership with other organizations. “In the spirit of this theme, we are hosting this year’s PIVOT in partnership with The World Geothermal Congress, Geothermal Rising, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers to bring you an action-packed month of in-person and virtual events around the world.” Project InnerSpac, “Pivot 2023” 2023.
20. Jamie Beard and Bryant Jones from Project InnerSpace are listed as lead authors of The Future of Geothermal in Texas. University of Texas, Austin, "The Future of Geothermal in Texas" 2023.
21. As of November 2023, Project InnerSpace has five principal investigators listed under its Phase 1 Research and Development Portfolio. Project InnerSpace, “About” n.d.
22. “Project InnerSpace has launched a two-year collaboration with the International Heat Flow Commission (IHFC) and the German Research Centre for Geoscience GFZ, Potsdam (GFZ) to accelerate the Global Heat Flow Database assessment for geothermal analyses. The effort, supported by a global team of scientists, is funded by a $700K Project InnerSpace grant and led by Dr. Sven Fuchs of GFZ, the custodian of the IHFC’s heat flow database. The collaboration supports the ongoing systematic revision of the Global Heat Flow Database, currently performed by a network of voluntary scientists. Since 2020, researchers have been updating incorrect, inconsistent, and missing data entries according to a new modernized metadata scheme, and categorizing each data entry based on data quality. The 2023 release of the Global Heat Flow Database had recently been published by IHFC.” ThinkGeoEnergy, "Project InnerSpace launches collaboration for global heat flow mapping" 2023.
23. “Project InnerSpace has announced a partnership with Google focused on expanding the use and adoption of geothermal energy worldwide. The collaboration unites the subsurface expertise and resources of Project InnerSpace, a non-profit organization focused on removing barriers to the growth and development of geothermal energy globally, and the data and software capabilities of Google, a global technology leader working to run its operations on 24/7 carbon-free energy and contribute to the decarbonization of global energy systems. Project InnerSpace and Google intend to leverage their respective strengths to address critical challenges facing geothermal development, including the development of a global geothermal resource mapping and assessment tool.” ThinkGeoEnergy, "Project InnerSpace partners with Google to advance geothermal development" 2023.
24. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-11-02.
25. “The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $165 million "Geothermal Energy from Oil and Gas Demonstrated Engineering" (GEODE) grant to a consortium formed by Project InnerSpace, Society of Petroleum Engineers International (SPE), and Geothermal Rising (GR). The cross-industry collaboration formed by the consortium will engage with oil and gas experts, geothermal startups, and other stakeholders to build consensus around strategies and opportunities for geothermal innovation. The consortium will leverage the oil and gas industry's 100+ years of experience and technological developments in drilling and subsurface engineering to address and overcome challenges currently constraining geothermal development.” Journal of Petroleum Technology, "DOE Awards SPE and Consortium Partners $165 Million Grant To Advance Geothermal" 2023.
26. New York Times: ““It’s been hard for geothermal to fight its way into the conversation,” said Jamie Beard, founder of Project InnerSpace, a Texas-based nonprofit that promotes geothermal.” New York Times, "There’s a Vast Source of Clean Energy Beneath Our Feet. And a Race to Tap It." 2023. WIRED: WIRED, "Where to Find the Energy to Save the World" 2023. National Public Radio: National Public Radio, "How can we tap into the vast power of geothermal energy?" 2022.
27. We describe our certainty as low/medium/high to increase readability and avoid false precision. Since these terms can be interpreted differently, we use rough heuristics to define them as percentage likelihoods the assumption is, on average, correct. Low = 0-60%, medium = 70-80%, high = 80-100%.
28. “In new (“green field”) geothermal projects, the highest risks are faced during the early stages of surface reconnaissance and exploration drilling (Stages I & II). During these early stages of development, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the flow capacity and temperature of the resource, namely, the ability to drill commercially productive wells that will supply a specified generation capacity for a specified length of time is poorly known. This leads to uncertainty in the likely overall cost to extract the geothermal fluids and reinjected the heat-depleted brine to replenish the reservoir. This uncertainty is considerably reduced after drilling and testing have confirmed the resource availability (following the completion of Stage II), which in turn allows the financial feasibility of proceeding with investment in subsequent development stages (Stages III and IV) to be ascertained.” Energy Sector Management Assistance Program,"Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation" 2016.
29. “While modest in comparison to the total cost of developing all of the stages of a geothermal project, the inability to raise funds for exploration and initial drilling can delay or sometimes even stall geothermal projects. Raising this risk capital can be particularly challenging for private-sector geothermal developers, since exploration drilling is typically funded with owner equity, which can be lost if the project turns out not to be feasible. Therefore, real or perceived “resource risk” has become a common barrier to advancing geothermal development around the world.” Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, "Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Geothermal Resource Risk Mitigation" 2016.
30. Small share of project costs: “The costs of pre-drilling and exploration drilling activities are comparatively small with respect to overall development costs; however, they directly influence subsequent drilling success rates and thus have a major financial impact on projects. In a 2016 analysis, Wall and Dobson found that exploration drilling results led to drilling full-sized development wells less than one third of the time. Exploration, confirmation, and development-well drilling collectively account for 30%–50% of the costs of geothermal development (Bromley et al. 2010). The cascading effects of exploration activities—from pre-drilling geotechnical studies through exploration, confirmation, and development drilling—have a collective impact on overall project costs and success.” US Department of Energy, "GeoVision" 2019. Percentage of project costs: The Future of Geothermal in Texas, a report that includes various Project InnerSpace staff as lead authors, estimated that pre-development surveys, exploration, and appraisal constitute approximately 10 percent of total expenses for geothermal projects. See Table 5.3. Project cost phasing by geothermal technology. University of Texas, Austin, "The Future of Geothermal in Texas" 2023.
31. "Variables such as market, transmission, and stakeholder support for a project cannot be determined without first understanding the resource potential— that is, where is the resource and what is its grade or quality? As such, the resulting economic determinations are only as accurate as the quality of the resource assessment data on which they are based. Mitigating uncertainty in resource assessments lowers the risk of unproductive exploration, thus reducing development costs.” Department of Energy, "GeoVision" 2019.
32. “Poor access to accurate and timely data or information on renewable energy has been a major barrier for effective policy and decision making in Nigeria. For example, it is difficult to ascertain the total wattage number of solar PV installations operational across the country. This is consistent with Sen and Ganguly  assertion that there is a lack of reliable data without which the generated output is likely impossible to be calculated. The absence of data recording stations constitutes a major barrier to the development of renewable energy, such as solar energy in Nigeria. Arguably, a lack of access to relevant data and inaccurate statistics remain a major barrier for renewable energy development in Nigeria.” Adejanyu et al. 2020.
33. “Apart from solar and hydro, there is a considerable dearth of information regarding the potential of renewable resources in the country. There is a need for comprehensive assessment of wind energy potential in the country for both on- and offshore wind. As observed from the analysis, the potential for geothermal, wave and tidal energy is yet to be quantified and thus, no plans yet to develop these renewable energy resources in the country. It is recommended that the federal government perform a detailed assessment to have a robust database of Nigeria’s renewable energy potential. This will help to support planning for renewable energy development and also show the possible locations for renewables deployment.” IRENA, "Renewable Energy Roadmap: Nigeria" 2023.
34. “Both borehole and seismic reflection data show significant clustering, with the borehole data also exhibiting a clustering and sampling bias with respect to depth. Non-representative sampling is an unavoidable consequence of collecting data to delineate resources for the exploration and production of geological resources (see Pyrcz and Deutsch, 2003). In the case of restricted depth of investigations during drilling this can also result in the underlying geological intervals not being sufficiently sampled to have a representative dataset, (e.g. Pyrcz and Deutsch, 2003). The ability to predict subsurface properties, such as temperature, relies on calibrating models against existing data. If the existing data are clustered, and there is a significant sampling bias then making predictions, based on models, away from data rich areas inevitably comes with an increased uncertainty. Representative datasets and associated statistics are vital for uncertainty modeling as sampling bias will bias any analysis of the uncertainties (Pyrcz and White., 2015).” Ireland et al. 2021.
35. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
36. “The U.S. Geological Survey and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed national-scale assessments of conventional hydrothermal resources and EGS resources. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates more than 30 GWe of undiscovered conventional hydrothermal resource potential in the United States (Williams et al. 2008), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Augustine 2016) estimates more than 5,000 GWe of EGS potential at depths between 3 and 7 kilometers (about 2 to 4 miles) across the country.” Department of Energy, "GeoVision" 2019.
37. “ Improving the quantity and spatial resolution of national-scale assessment data will reduce uncertainty and can potentially identify more resources (in terms of quantity and geographic distribution) than estimated as of 2017. As an example, the GeoVision analysis considered sensitivity runs comparing regional, high-resolution EGS resource assessments with broader national-scale data assessments based on EGS resource data from Southern Methodist University. The result was the identification of more than 84 GWe of additional resources in the Great Basin area alone (Augustine et al. 2019).” Department of Energy, "GeoVision" 2019.
38. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
39. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-05-04.
40. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-05-04.
41. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
42. Google collaboration: “Project InnerSpace has announced a partnership with Google focused on expanding the use and adoption of geothermal energy worldwide.” ThinkGeoEnergy, "Project InnerSpace partners with Google to advance geothermal development" 2023. Financial support: Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
43. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-05-04.
44. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
45. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
46. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
47. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
48. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
49. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-10-11.
50. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
51. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
52. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
53. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
54. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
55. “The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $165 million "Geothermal Energy from Oil and Gas Demonstrated Engineering" (GEODE) grant to a consortium formed by Project InnerSpace, Society of Petroleum Engineers International (SPE), and Geothermal Rising (GR).” Journal of Petroleum Technology, "DOE Awards SPE and Consortium Partners $165 Million Grant To Advance Geothermal" 2023.
56. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
57. Giving Green conversation with Project InnerSpace, 2023-07-20.
58. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
59. Giving Green correspondence with Project InnerSpace, 2023-08-17.
60. As an example, some key parameters could include: geothermal’s percent share of the global energy portfolio, which varies by country; the amount of fossil fuel burning that it displaces, which varies by country; the number of years which Project InnerSpace’s activities speed up geothermal development relative to the counterfactual; the percent likelihood of success that activities by industry, nonprofits, and governments speed up geothermal development; the percent that Project InnerSpace contributes to sped up geothermal development relative to other actors; and global spillover effects from Project InnerSpace’s activities.