Effects of Temperature Uncertainty on the Valuation of Geothermal Projects: A Real Options Approach
FCN Working Paper No. 11/2012
46 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2013
Date Written: November 2012
In this paper we investigate the economic viability of geothermal district heating networks using both net present value (NPV) and real options analysis (ROA). We give an introduction to geothermal energy technologies and review the relevant ROA literature focusing on applications in similar fields, such as oil projects. The similarities and differences of oil and geothermal projects are discussed and summarized. The investment structure of geothermal projects is analyzed concerning costs and uncertainties in the different investment stages. We develop a method to assess the impact of temperature uncertainty with ROA. Investments in geothermal projects are evaluated applying a binomial and a trinomial lattice approach. A novel real options model for the evaluation of normally distributed uncertainty is developed for binomial lattices. Using data obtained from a Dutch project in The Hague, we find positive option values for both lattice approaches, compared to negative values for the common NPV calculation. Drilling and production costs are found to have a significant impact on the option value.
Keywords: Geothermal energy, Real options, District heating, Investment under uncertainty
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