2008-12-19

Geothermal power is it

  • Proven Technology - Iceland and New Zealand have used it for decades.
  • Widely Available - Shallow "hot spots" in the crust are located all over the globe. India, China, Russia, Europe, North America (and more) - all have "hot spots" that can be exploited for power.
  • Zero carbon emissions - It's just water being emptied down one pipe, going into the earth's crust, turning into steam, exiting out another pipe, turning a turbine, cooling down again, and then emptied down the inlet pipe again.
  • Localised - a nation's electricity can be sourced within its own borders or from neighbours.
  • Inexpensive - over the long term. The initial building phase is very expensive (drilling down a few kilometres, arranging the pipes etc) but, once the infrastructure is built, it is cheap to maintain.
  • Plentiful - the potential amount of electricity available to be exploited is several magnitudes greater than current demand. If demand = 1, potential supply = 1000+.
  • Self-replenishing - while "hot spots" eventually begin to cool when used for geothermal power purposes, they are replenished by the heat of the earth's core. Shutting down a geothermal plant for a few years may be all that is needed to heat up the "hot spot" again.
  • Zero pollution - no particulates like coal power, no radioactive wastes like nuclear power, no "visual pollution" like wind turbines. The power plant could even be built totally underground, thus preserving anything important on the surface.
  • Simple and reliable - the technology needed to build the power plant and to keep it running has been available for more than 50 years.
  • Replaces oil - electric vehicles can be charged with electrical power sourced from geothermal. Electric trains can replace diesel ones. This completely negates 99% of the demand for oil.


1 comment:

The Scylding said...

I like it too - but it has some limitations: Geologically - it works well where there is a shallow heat source like Iceland, NZ and Hawaii. Thus it is somewhat limited. Here in SK, people use geothermal heat to warm up homes - but you need a lot of electicity to do so - thus it is an alternative to gas, yet it is not a net generator of power.

Also, depending on the sourse, it is poiisble to exhaust the capacity of a field - and heatsources come and go through time.