Tag: geothermal energy

Something other than coal for West Virginia

West Virgina’s suicide pact with coal mining makes no sense. The Appalachian state could be a respectable wind energy producer and now Science reports that West Virginia is a geothermal hot spot.

Researchers have uncovered the largest geothermal hot spot in the eastern United States. According to a unique collaboration between Google and academic geologists, West Virginia sits atop several hot patches of Earth, some as warm as 200˚C and as shallow as 5 kilometers. If engineers are able to tap the heat, the state could become a producer of green energy for the region…

The find was a surprise to the scientists themselves as well as to local experts. “Nobody expected West Virginia to show up as a hot spot,” says SMU’s Maria Richards, a geothermal expert and geographer. “Just last year, I thought West Virginia, geothermal energy–I didn’t put the two together,” adds West Virginia’s official state geologist, Michael Hohn, who didn’t participate in the study.

West Virginia could change, but…

Electricity is extremely cheap in West Virginia due to its abundant coal, so geothermal energy probably can’t compete for business from utilities there. But Hohn says the state’s extensive network of power lines makes it a good candidate for exporting electricity produced by geothermal power to nearby states such as Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Madness to keep burning ‘cheap’ coal.

Shoot Out At Democrat Gulch

Sometime in the next few months, citizens of the Wood River Valley could lose one of their most precious resources to development. Hailey Hot Springs, located in Democrat Gulch three miles west of Hailey and the site of the Spring Creek Ranch development, could be developed, and with that goes any access we might have to this magnificent geothermal resource.

How terribly awful.

Hailey Hot Springs has a long history in the valley, going back to the 1800s when it was the site of a large hotel and spa frequented by tourists from as far away as St. Louis. It was later piped into Hailey, where it heated buildings and a pool at the old Hiawatha Hotel, where many of my friends learned to swim.


Past misdeeds are no excuse.  One might think that they don’t know there is plenty of coal to burn yet.

The only thing new here by the way is that electricity might be generated as well with newer technology.

Don’t bother telling the politicians.  They spend all their time peering at the sun with wind blowing in their ears from lobbyists.

Best,  Terry

Star Power

Helium Isotopes Point to New Sources of Geothermal Energy

“A good geothermal energy source has three basic requirements: a high thermal gradient – which means accessible hot rock – plus a rechargeable reservoir fluid, usually water, and finally, deep permeable pathways for the fluid to circulate through the hot rock,” says Kennedy, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division. “We believe we have found a way to map and quantify zones of permeability deep in the lower crust that result not from volcanic activity but from tectonic activity, the movement of pieces of the Earth’s crust.”

Kennedy and van Soest made their discovery by comparing the ratios of helium isotopes in samples gathered from wells, surface springs, and vents across the northern Basin and Range. Helium-three, whose nucleus has just one neutron, is made only in stars, and Earth’s mantle retains a high proportion of primordial helium-three (compared to the minuscule amount found in air) left over from the formation of the solar system.