Fracking for heat
Aug 8, 2012
Bishop Hill in Energy: gas, Greens

An article in E&E Greenwire reports that a start-up company in the USA is about to test the use of fracking techniques to access geothermal energy sources:

The company has finished setting up seismic sensors on U.S. Forest Service land near the base of Newberry Volcano, a national monument site about 20 miles south of Bend, Ore. The volcano hasn't erupted in 1,300 years and shows no signs of activity today, but the Earth's heat finds its way to the surface in other ways.

Part of the area's allure to visitors comes from the hot springs at Paulina Lake and East Lake, where the water is warm but not too warm for bathing. About 2 miles underground, though, the temperatures climb above 600 degrees Fahrenheit -- about as hot as the Geysers, where a set of power plants in Northern California generate 1,300 megawatts of electricity, more than at any other hot spot on Earth.

AltaRock will inject 24 million gallons of water at roughly 46 degrees Fahrenheit into these hot rocks to build a large network of small cracks. If all goes according to plan, the company will be able to circulate water through the rock and suck it out of newly drilled wells, scalding hot and ready for use in an eventual power plant.

The eyes of environmentalists all around the world will be lighting up at a new threat to be protested, a new scare to bring in the donations.

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