Remember geothermal energy? It was a
popular topic back in the 1960’s, particularly among those who were
stridently opposed to the massive investments in nuclear power.
Somehow, though, it was never pursued very aggressively.
Now, there is a massive report published by MIT, at the behest of the US Dept. of
Energy. It is a big report, a 14MB PDF download: The
Future of Geothermal Energy. It is mentioned in an
MIT news release:
panel backs ‘heat mining’ as key U.S. energy source
January 22, 2007
A comprehensive new MIT-led study of the potential for geothermal
energy within the United States has found that mining the huge amounts
of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth’s hard rock
crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United
States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with
minimal environmental impact.
An 18-member panel led by MIT prepared the 400-plus page study, titled
“The Future of Geothermal Energy” (PDF, 14.1 MB). Sponsored by the U.S.
Department of Energy, it is the first study in some 30 years to take a
new look at geothermal, an energy resource that has been largely
FORGOTTEN, GEOTHERMAL COULD ERUPT
January 23rd, 2007
…The study notes that its aim was to investigate whether the
implementation of new technologies, such as EGS, could result in the
inexpensive and environmentally responsible production of as much as
100 000 megawatts of base-load electric generating capacity in the U.S.
in the year 2050. In its conclusion, the panelists state that such a
goal is achievable with research, development, demonstration, and
deployment funding over the next five decades of approximately US $600
to $900 million, with an absorbed cost of $200 to $350 million…
I know I sometimes get too political, but I can’t help but point out
that for the cost of one day of war in Iraq, we could go a long way
toward reducing concern about Mideast oil.