May 22, 2024

Episode 16 – Everything You Need to Know about Geothermal Energy With Gradient Geothermal’s Johanna Ostrum

Let's Clear the Air Energy Podcast
Let's Clear the Air Energy Podcast
Episode 16 - Everything You Need to Know about Geothermal Energy With Gradient Geothermal’s Johanna Ostrum

Geothermal energy is a small but growing part of the energy mix. In this episode, Johanna Ostrum, Chief Operating Officer with Gradient Geothermal, joins hosts Andrew Parker and Adam Murray to discuss the technology and policy developments that could make geothermal a bigger part of the future of energy.

The basics of geothermal are in the name, Ostrum tells listeners — using the ever-present heat of the earth to produce energy. During the episode, she describes advantages geothermal offers as a sustainable and reliable energy source, including the ability to be a base-load power source regardless of the weather.

Ostrum tells listeners that geothermal systems are highly efficient and can support direct heating applications, such as district heating, greenhouse heating, and industrial processes, further enhancing energy efficiency. For example, oil and gas companies could slash production-related emissions by switching to geothermal-powered hot water generators.

Another advantage, Ostrum says: geothermal energy does not require rare earth minerals, which are essential for other renewable technologies like wind turbines and electric vehicle batteries, thus avoiding the environmental and geopolitical issues associated with mining these materials.

Advancements in technology are making geothermal energy increasingly viable in diverse geographic locations, broadening its potential reach. Geothermal companies are leveraging oil and gas resources, including existing wells and the skills and knowledge of oil and gas workers, Ostrum says. Over the past five years, geothermal companies have begun using horizontal drilling techniques pioneered by upstream oil and gas companies.

In this episode, the hosts get Johanna’s thoughts on:

  • Geothermal basics.
  • Where it’s feasible to site geothermal production sites.
  • Relative advantages of geothermal energy.
  • Some of the challenges to implementing geothermal on a broader scale.

Johanna Ostrum Bio

Johanna Ostrum is Chief Operating Officer with Gradient Geothermal, which is a leading producer of geothermal energy in the oil and gas sector. Ostrum’s extensive expertise spans the oil and gas industry, where she has excelled in engineering, regulatory, policy, and management roles. Her professional journey includes significant contributions at Noble Energy, SM Energy, Extraction Oil & Gas, and the Clean Air Task Force. Currently, she is a member of the Board of the Energy Leadership Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering from Montana Tech.

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