Leave it to Capitalists to point the road forward to energy independence, Komrades! A Google.org funded project at SMU documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power – 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today.
What utter self interest at work here, where a mega global corporation invests in discovery and development of energy resources for its future growth and profits for investors.
See the video and FAQs at Google.
Three recent technological developments already have sparked geothermal development in areas with little or no tectonic activity or volcanism:
Low Temperature Hydrothermal – Energy is produced from areas with naturally occurring high fluid volumes at temperatures ranging from less than boiling to 150°C (300°F). This application is currently producing energy in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.
Geopressure and Coproduced Fluids Geothermal – Oil and/or natural gas are produced together with electricity generated from hot geothermal fluids drawn from the same well. Systems are installed or being installed in Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) – Areas with low fluid content, but high temperatures of more than 150°C (300°F), are “enhanced” with injection of fluid and other reservoir engineering techniques. EGS resources are typically deeper than hydrothermal and represent the largest share of total geothermal resources capable of supporting larger capacity power plants.
A key goal in the SMU resource assessment was to aid in evaluating these nonconventional geothermal resources on a regional to sub-regional basis.
Areas of particular geothermal interest include the Appalachian trend (Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, to northern Louisiana), the aquifer heated area of South Dakota, and the areas of radioactive basement granites beneath sediments such as those found in northern Illinois and northern Louisiana. The Gulf Coast continues to be outlined as a huge resource area and a promising sedimentary basin for development. The Raton Basin in southeastern Colorado possesses extremely high temperatures and is being evaluated by the State of Colorado along with an area energy company.
SMU’s Geothermal Laboratory in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences conducted this research through funding provided by Google.org, which is dedicated to using the power of information and innovation to advance breakthrough technologies in clean energy.