Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Geothermal Energy: The Ground's Not Getting Any Cooler

Looking around the internet, I found this article which gives a little blurb about a new geothermal project on a little island in the Caribbean. It will be capable of producing 8.5 MW of power. While that not might seem like a lot to us here in the US, that could provide a lot for a little 36 square mile island.

Aerial Shot of Nevis
From my earlier post on geothermal energy, one of the reasons that geothermal energy isn't expanded upon that was brought up by a reader was that geothermal can only be utilized at "hot spots" around the globe, which are places where high temperature geothermal resources are available near the surface. The island where the project is being planned, Nevis, is a little to the southeast of Puerto Rico. It is the dormant remnant of an ancient volcano, which is why it has a multitude of hot springs and why the geothermal project is being planned for it.

After looking up all of this info on Nevis, I started wondering if the US had any geothermal plants in Hawaii, where volcanic activity is very present resulting in a lot of geothermal potential. I then researched that and found that they do indeed have one geothermal plant on the big island that only produces energy for the big island. It produces about 20% of the island's energy needs, so it is very useful and helpful.
Hawaii's Geothermal Plant

While they are doing some things with geothermal energy, I feel like they could do a lot more in Hawaii. There has to be a lot more places where they can build geothermal plants around the different islands, instead of just having the one on the big island, but that's just ideal speculation. I remember reading at one point something about Hawaii wanting to go green and have a majority of their energy come from renewable sources, so I think geothermal can definitely help them reach their goal.

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