A quiet breakthrough in geothermal power tech
Not a lot of startups tackle the field of geothermal power, which entails tapping into hot rocks deep in the Earth to produce energy and electricity. That’s because it can be an expensive proposition, and can require extensive permits and environmental reports. But a rare startup called AltaRock Energy has recently delivered a promising breakthrough that it says can lead to the commercialization of its next-generation geothermal technology.
AltaRock Energy — which has backing from venture capitalists, as well as Google and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment firm — has been working on enhanced (sometimes called engineered) geothermal tech. This technology drills wells deep into the ground, injects them with cold water to fracture the hot rocks, and creates a geothermal source of power where none was naturally occurring. Traditional geothermal systems, in contrast, tap into naturally occurring geothermal reservoirs (you know, the kind you see on the side of the road in Yellowstone National Park).

A quiet breakthrough in geothermal power tech

Not a lot of startups tackle the field of geothermal power, which entails tapping into hot rocks deep in the Earth to produce energy and electricity. That’s because it can be an expensive proposition, and can require extensive permits and environmental reports. But a rare startup called AltaRock Energy has recently delivered a promising breakthrough that it says can lead to the commercialization of its next-generation geothermal technology.

AltaRock Energy — which has backing from venture capitalists, as well as Google and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment firm — has been working on enhanced (sometimes called engineered) geothermal tech. This technology drills wells deep into the ground, injects them with cold water to fracture the hot rocks, and creates a geothermal source of power where none was naturally occurring. Traditional geothermal systems, in contrast, tap into naturally occurring geothermal reservoirs (you know, the kind you see on the side of the road in Yellowstone National Park).

A visual representation of renewable energy growth in the U.S. | Grist

…here’s a U.S. map of non-hydro renewable energy installations built or planned today:
So: lots more, lots bigger, and lots more variety. I’m sure most Grist readers knew this was happening on some level, but it’s nice to have a visual representation.
The point the B&V analyst takes from that is that Solyndra is a sideshow. It’s not going to stop the march of renewables in the U.S. And that’s undoubtedly true. The point I take, of course, is that this growth is impressive but not nearly fast enough. In 10 years, I want the gray U.S. map to be invisible beneath a blanket of multi-colored dots. Get on it, people!

A visual representation of renewable energy growth in the U.S. | Grist

here’s a U.S. map of non-hydro renewable energy installations built or planned today:

So: lots more, lots bigger, and lots more variety. I’m sure most Grist readers knew this was happening on some level, but it’s nice to have a visual representation.

The point the B&V analyst takes from that is that Solyndra is a sideshow. It’s not going to stop the march of renewables in the U.S. And that’s undoubtedly true. The point I take, of course, is that this growth is impressive but not nearly fast enough. In 10 years, I want the gray U.S. map to be invisible beneath a blanket of multi-colored dots. Get on it, people!

Iceland’s Clean Energy Is a Hot Commodity for Europe
Source: Fast Company
Currently Iceland produces 81% of its energy from renewable energy, primarily from geothermal methods. Landsvirkjun, an Icelandic energy company, is proposing a cable that would connect to Europe and transfer some of that geothermal power. The hope is that approximately 1.25 million European homes would receive electricity from Icelandic geothermal energy.

Iceland’s Clean Energy Is a Hot Commodity for Europe

Source: Fast Company

Currently Iceland produces 81% of its energy from renewable energy, primarily from geothermal methods. Landsvirkjun, an Icelandic energy company, is proposing a cable that would connect to Europe and transfer some of that geothermal power. The hope is that approximately 1.25 million European homes would receive electricity from Icelandic geothermal energy.

Geothermal energy is enjoying a resurgence - WSJ.com
Geothermal energy, long a relatively untapped form of power, has suddenly become hot. Produced by drilling deep underground and extracting steam or hot water through tiny fractures in rock, geothermal power has always been an attractive source of renewable energy because it can be generated round-the-clock, unlike wind and solar power. The problem: Geothermal resources can be difficult to find and expensive to bring into production. As a result, only about 5% of the nation’s renewable power supply, or about 3,000 megawatts, comes from geothermal plants currently, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But now, new technology—combined with government funding—is giving the industry a giant push. Geothermal developers are uncovering new resources and nudging formerly unproductive reservoirs to life. At the same time, higher energy prices and state requirements that utilities generate more power from renewable resources are giving developers more of an economic incentive to increase production.

Geothermal energy is enjoying a resurgence - WSJ.com

Geothermal energy, long a relatively untapped form of power, has suddenly become hot. Produced by drilling deep underground and extracting steam or hot water through tiny fractures in rock, geothermal power has always been an attractive source of renewable energy because it can be generated round-the-clock, unlike wind and solar power. The problem: Geothermal resources can be difficult to find and expensive to bring into production. As a result, only about 5% of the nation’s renewable power supply, or about 3,000 megawatts, comes from geothermal plants currently, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But now, new technology—combined with government funding—is giving the industry a giant push. Geothermal developers are uncovering new resources and nudging formerly unproductive reservoirs to life. At the same time, higher energy prices and state requirements that utilities generate more power from renewable resources are giving developers more of an economic incentive to increase production.

The Heat Is On: There Is Plenty Of Geothermal Energy Underground, We Just Need To Get To It
It is estimated that the amount of heat within 30,000 feet below the earth’s surface holds potentially 50,000 times more energythan all global oil and natural gas resources combined. According to the Geothermal Energy Association, up to 6,400 megawatts of new capacity could be created from the geothermal projects under development in the U.S. But getting to that energy is proving to be a challenge. 

The Heat Is On: There Is Plenty Of Geothermal Energy Underground, We Just Need To Get To It

It is estimated that the amount of heat within 30,000 feet below the earth’s surface holds potentially 50,000 times more energythan all global oil and natural gas resources combined. According to the Geothermal Energy Association, up to 6,400 megawatts of new capacity could be created from the geothermal projects under development in the U.S. But getting to that energy is proving to be a challenge. 

Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) have been in use since the late 1940s. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature.
EERE Consumer’s Guide: Types of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) have been in use since the late 1940s. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature.

EERE Consumer’s Guide: Types of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems