Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baseload Electricity from Geothermal

The LA Times had this picture across the top of the Business Section yesterday, for an article entitled

Companies harvest Earth's heat

Proponents of coal, NG and oil keep saying we need their dirty energy to provide baseload electricity when the sun's not shining and the wind isn't blowing. (Turns out that the 2 together do a pretty good job a lot of places anyway.) Geothermal does just that, and there's a lot of it available all over the world. Locations along faults have great (somewhat) easy access, but as I wrote earlier, anywhere the earth is warmer than the air, you can use the difference to generate electricity, as they are doing in Denmark. Here is an interesting quote from the beginning of the article:

Tucked into a few dusty acres across from a shopping mall, it uses steam heat from deep within the Earth's crust to generate electricity. Known as geothermal, the energy is clean, reliable and so abundant that this facility produces more than enough electricity to power every home in Reno, population 221,000.
Geothermal plants don't pollute like coal or oil well. Evidently the initial construction isn't cheap, but then neither are nuclear or new so-called "clean" coal-fired plants. And after that, they just run. No extra fuel needed. How wonderful is that!

There is a great graphic on the website which tells how Geothermal energy is harnessed, and where the best locations can be found. China isn't indicated as a possible location on the map, but the large earthquakes there might imply otherwise. We need to get the technology really going, and then export it to China and India ASAP to stop the destructiveness of coal!

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