Any geothermal resource assessment requires consistent and widely accepted terminology, methods, and reporting schemes that facilitate the comparison of geothermal resource estimates. This paper reviews common resource assessment methods, as well as reporting codes and terminology. Based on a rigorous analysis of the portrayed concepts and methods, it discusses the appropriateness of the existing reporting codes for sustainable utilization of geothermal resources in Germany. Since the last quantitative geothermal resource assessment in Germany was done 15 years ago, a revised report is overdue. Unlike fossil energy commodities, geothermal energy replenishes naturally and heat recuperation increases in created heat sinks. This replenishment process offers the opportunity for sustainable reservoir management in the case of moderate production rates or cyclic operation. Existing reporting codes, however, regard geothermal resources in a similar way to fossil resources or focus too much on field development rather than on the whole assessment process. In order to emphasize the renewability of geothermal energy, we propose the reporting of geothermal capacities (per doublet or per km2
) instead of recoverable heat energy which depends very much on project lifetime and other factors. As a first step, a new classification scheme for geothermal resources and reserves is outlined.
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