A Steamy Discussion

The Department of Energy came to the Houston Museum of Natural Science last week to gather input from people in the energy field on how to spend millions of dollars given to them by Congress for the research and development of EGS or Enhanced (engineered) Geothermal Systems. Information is based on a study done at MIT.

After looking at a lot of writing and graphs that I STILL can’t comprehend, I at least get the point that there is a lot of geothermal energy on this continent which can be utilized to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels and thus – ultimate goal – slow the destruction of our only livable planet.

Advantages of geothermal energy:

It’s everywhere if you go deep enough into the earth.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ross_Goodman

Wind Turbines are not a continous
source of energy, as they depend on
constant wind to keep them running

It’s continuous, unlike the wind which takes a break occasionally or the sun, which is often hidden. I did learn that a form of energy that is continuous is called a BASE LOAD RESOURCE, verses wind or solar energy which is dependent on the elements.

It doesn’t have to be stored.

It has very little negative visual or environmental impart.

It has a small carbon footprint.

It won’t run out, at least while the core of the earth is molten radioactive heat.

Cost is reasonable (4-8 cents a kWh) and cost competitive with other fuel. If there was a carbon tax to gas and coal, the cost of geothermal energy is even more viable.

La Dordogne / The Dordogne
Creative Commons License photo credit: bestfor

Currently, the negative effects of
harvesting geothermal are unknown


Unknown environmental impact – some of the funds from Congress will be used to investigate the unknown impacts of geothermal energy such as ground water, land subsidence effects of water injection, air pollution, noise, safety and land use.

I admire these geothermal experts for asking for input from people all across the energy field. They are excited about the prospects of advancing a resource which has been grossly under utilized and has the potential to provide energy relief in the future. Keep your eye out for advancements in this field.