×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

West Virginia Is Geothermically Active

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the time-to-sell-some-volcano-insurance dept.

Earth 239

sciencehabit writes "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 200C 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."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

239 comments

Welcom heavy metals (-1, Troll)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792492)

Great stuff, so long as they don't bring any of it up top. Othewise find sombody's back yard to dump it ... heavy metals and other goodies.

Since it's West Virginia, I suggest we all... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792518)

Squeal like a pig!

Re:Welcom heavy metals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792532)

And radioactivity.
In Australia the hot spots are hotter and shallower, yet zero serious business interest - as the powerlines to somewhere useful is a fair way away.

The there is the fact were hot spots were tapped, this has been blamed for causing earthquakes.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792682)

Thats okay. Our brown coal won't run out for thousands of years at the current rate!

But seriously we have so much flat, empty and hot land in this country we should be getting in to photovoltaic and solar thermal energy production. Transmission losses aren't really a big deal.

Re:Welcome heavy metals (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793314)

Actually brown coal can act as a nice insulating blanket over geothermal heat sources so you can find the hot stuff closer to the surface than expected. There is research looking at that in the Latrobe Valley in Australia. Also in Australia is an ongoing project to map likely geothermal sites along the path of existing power transmission lines.
Transmission losses ARE a big deal NOW since most lines are made of aluminium and consumers may be 1000km from a power source. There's also weird stuff with harmonics I don't understand that means it's best not to try to push those electrons too far if you want to get some use out of them.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792630)

Yeah, it would never dawn on a mining state to be interested in obtaining lithium, Rare Earths, etc. Nor would they or the EPA know how to handle this correctly.

Skipping the sarcasm, the drilling will likely be a binary system, and would be a good way to obtain minerals, elements since it is a by-product. Then what is left can be re-injected back in. Basically, it turns a well from a energy producer into a energy and mineral producer.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792748)

Uhhh...have you actually SEEN the slushpits around the mines here in the USA? It ain't like the EPA has had any teeth in years buddy, sad to report. Instead of doing what would be sensible, forcing mines to pay into a fund so when the ore runs out the money for cleanup will be there, no our corporate booty kissing government just gives them carte blanche to do as they please, and then when the mine runs dry they just dissolve the company and leave We, The People, to clean up the mess. As an example you might want to read up on a little slice of heaven known as a superfund site [wikipedia.org] .

I'm not a NIMBY, which especially don't apply here since I'm not in WV (thank Jebus), and I'm all for nuclear and mining, but I'm just as much for corporate responsibility which sadly has been DOA here for a couple of decades here at least.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793460)

Hairy,
I live here in COlorado. Believe me, we have loads of mine and loads of wells. A coal mine IS dirty. Gold, Uranium, etc are even dirtier. We have loads of issues with irresponsible companies that have been here and the fact that they do not restore the land.
BUT, a MINE is not a well. Wells biggest issues are those that are fracking and having taken shortcuts. Those shortcuts save a few bucks, but typically allow leaks (think of the recent gulf oil spill). But geo-thermal is different. Compared to mining (and compared to solar PV/wind/etc), it is clean.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792778)

Yeah, it would never dawn on a mining state to be interested in obtaining lithium, Rare Earths, etc. Nor would they or the EPA know how to handle this correctly.

They know, but they don't care.

Skipping the sarcasm, the drilling will likely be a binary system, and would be a good way to obtain minerals, elements since it is a by-product. Then what is left can be re-injected back in. Basically, it turns a well from a energy producer into a energy and mineral producer.

It doesn't work that way. What comes out of the earth is usually heavily contaminated and it's not cost-effective to try to separate it. Separating the metals takes a lot of big stuff that you don't want to build next to a geothermal hotspot because they're seismically active. When you start pumping stuff into the ground you increase the seismic activity. In order to pump the stuff into the ground at all you'll need to add water, which is going to have to be pumped in.

I live near to (formerly right next to) The Geysers, the most geothermally active spot on the planet. There is a geothermal plant there which is perpetually over budget and under-producing power compared to expectations. The turbine blades build up with heavy metals including arsenic. When there's enough to interfere with efficiency the turbines are suspended over an open pit and pressure-washed. The water is permitted to evaporate off the pit, and when it's full enough they pour a concrete cap on the pit, build the walls higher, and start again. This is an EPA-approved plan.

Before the EPA got involved they were filling up drums with the stuff and burying it in a field on Butts Canyon road. Then we started having cows born with two heads and stuff like that. They dug it up, put in a plastic liner, and reburied it. In another few decades we can have the same problem all over again.

When the steam started to run low due to overuse we started pumping sewage into the ground to add steam pressure. This worked, but seismic activity was multiplied by a factor of two or three. A massive lawsuit resulted in a payback program for local homeowners who can show seismic damage.

In short, the only kind of geothermal even suitable for use is heat pipe heating/cooling. It's not useful for large-scale power generation. We simply do not have the scruples necessary as a species to do geothermal power correctly. Also, the EPA is a bad fucking joke with no teeth, and suggesting that the EPA will protect us is preschool-level naivety.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792828)

What's wrong with the concrete pit design? You're not going to get a much better disposal solution than locking something into concrete. It's not like we can just magically wish for something to disappear.

Not trying to support the geothermal effort per se - I'm merely trying to figure out what your point on that complaint was.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (0, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792868)

What's wrong with the concrete pit design? You're not going to get a much better disposal solution than locking something into concrete. It's not like we can just magically wish for something to disappear.

Concrete and earthquakes don't mix particularly well. Nothing is "locked" into the concrete, they didn't mix the radioactives into it, it's a layer cake. If the cake breaks, then we'll have a worse release than anything we've seen in the region before, and we already have two superfund sites! So far the history at the plant is one of incompetence, so there is every reason to believe that it will fail eventually. The pit is built right next to the power-generating site, which means it's near the epicenter of all geyser-related seismic activity.

Not trying to support the geothermal effort per se - I'm merely trying to figure out what your point on that complaint was.

I don't believe anything a coward says. I think your actual goal is to make me look like an ass. Until you log in I will assume you are a lying troll.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792856)

I live near to (formerly right next to) The Geysers, the most geothermally active spot on the planet.

I think the birthplace of the word "geyser" [wikipedia.org] would disagree with you on that assessment.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792922)

I think the birthplace of the word "geyser" would disagree with you on that assessment.

And yet, you lack the courage of your convictions necessary to log in.

"The Geysers" is the most geothermally active region in the world acre for acre. If you measure a country, which is too large to build a single geothermal plant on, you will get another result. If you measure a 1x1 inch area, you can probably come up with still another result. In practical terms, The Geysers is the most geothermally active spot that there is. This doesn't mean it's the best place to build a geothermal plant, of course; there are other considerations.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (1)

endymion.nz (1093595) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792948)

I used to live near a geothermal plant in New Zealand and it worked a treat. Guess it depends on who's in charge.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792984)

I used to live near a geothermal plant in New Zealand and it worked a treat. Guess it depends on who's in charge.

Well, I've not checked up on your environmental record, AFAIK it's quite good though. However, ours is not, and since both the location we're talking about and the plant I'm talking about are in the same country, it's probably safe to assume that any new plants on the site would also be mismanaged.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793518)

Actually, each state combined with EPA decides how and what to enforce. It is up to WV to take the needed actions

Now, as to seperating the minerals, that is already being looked at. Today, it is expensive, but in the geysers, they are working on making this cheap. In addition, that same approach is used in Canada and here in the west to extract uranium from the soil.
Short answer, it may be expensive today, but will be cheaper with time.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793570)

Oh, on a side note; arsenic is non-mutagenic. If you have cattle with 2 heads, then you have an issue. But it is not arsenic.

Re:Welcom heavy metals (-1, Troll)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792884)

Yeah, it would never dawn on a mining state to be interested in obtaining lithium, Rare Earths, etc. Nor would they or the EPA know how to handle this correctly.

Exactly. If you actually read google's press release [goo.gl] about this, you'd know that collateral mining is integral part of the project.

Earthquakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792496)

While I'm very happy to hear about anything that will get us off our addition to oil, unfortunately I'm concerned about any earthquakes that might be triggered (as was what caused a major venture in California to be shuttered).

This is unfortunate especially because of the enormous amount of energy that could be tapped (60K times yearly consumption).

Re:Earthquakes (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792802)

Which makes me think of a question maybe someone here at /. can answer: Can miners/drillers set off enough "little ones" to cause a big one? The reason I ask is I was recently shown a map I found most disturbing. A friend is working processing geological data for a wildcat drilling company, which since 2003 or so these groups have been given the keys to the kingdom around here since the economy has been down here since the factories closed ( which BTW we have lost 42 THOUSAND [theeconomi...seblog.com] in the USA since 2001, thanks greedy corporations!) and the earthquake data was scary. Before they showed up we are talking an average of 1.4 on the Richter scale, and only one every decade. Since 2004 we are talking dozens in the 2.4-3 scale, all concentrated in tiny areas near the wells.

So my question is this: If these guys set off enough earthquakes in that range, can they set off New Madrid, which we are on? Not that it really matters much in the end I suppose, as we are so "corporation yay!" here they could dump their garbage on the court house steps and everyone in the chamber of commerce would pretend its roses, but those places that aren't complete corporate whores might want to watch out if it is possible. Of course if they did cause a disaster I have no doubt they'd just fold the corporation and walk away with the cash, which is why I think we need serious corporate reform in this country, not that it will ever happen.

Re:Earthquakes (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793010)

If they are setting off earthquakes they would be releasing tension which would have only amounted to a larger earthquake at a later date.

Re:Earthquakes (1)

forand (530402) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793352)

As far as I am aware of your statement has not been shown to be true. It is often stated as truth by reasonable people who think about it for a short time but the evidence is that smaller Earthquakes before a larger one appear to be uncorrelated (again as far as I am aware). If you have evidence of such a correlation I would be grateful for a link to it.

Re:Earthquakes (1)

JustABlitheringIdiot (1773798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793510)

If they are setting off earthquakes they would be releasing tension which would have only amounted to a larger earthquake at a later date.

Yes some energy will be dissipated in the process of fracturing the rock but it breaks the equilibrium and creates a new stress point elsewhere which could trigger the "main" fault (discovered or not).

Re:Earthquakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793286)

One thing to point out is the that geologists would actually be worried about less earth quakes or even smaller earth quakes because it would mean that energy is building up underground for a bigger earth quake. The earth quakes being set off by wildcat may actually be preventing a bigger earth quake from building. Basically imagine a car doing 60 mph hitting reinforced brick wall as a major earth quake. Now imagine that same car traveling through several sheets of plywood stack a few feet from each other and you see why releasing energy slowly is very good thing. That being said if drilling sets off a major earth quake remember that earth quake would probably have happened anyway at latter date with a higher magnitude. It is believed that cooling the earth's crust may help reduce earth quakes.

I love your hate for corporations as long as it's balanced with an equal hate for government because fuck you over for the same reasons. Remember bigger government = bigger corporations.

Re:Earthquakes (0, Flamebait)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793364)

Have you been to West Virginia? What a dump. Earthquakes could only make things better.

Thats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792506)

what the CIA Cantina wants to make us think after "brussel sprouts night"...

Are they sure? (2, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792514)

Maybe its just coal burning underground.

Re:Are they sure? (4, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792698)

5km is a bit too deep for coal fires.

In any case, 200C at 5 km is also quite deep for economically viable hydrothermals. That is "deep drilling" territory which is quite expensive. As the article notes Nevada has it at sub-2km, so does most of Europe along the Alps fault line.

Re:Are they sure? (1)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793386)

Where I live they drill 1,5km deep just to get black coal to fuel a coal plant. If they wouldn't cut the state funding in a few years I imagine they would drill even deeper when the current reserves are depleted. It is all just a matter of being dependent on other countries natural reserves vs. funding it with tax money.

Anyways, I wish my government would invest more in this kind of energy and not give the energy producing companies a 100 billion check over the next 12 years for keeping the nuclear plants running longer and waste taxpayers money by taking care of the waste. (my government being that of germany). You made that waste, you should have to pay for it being taken care of. But well, then you couldn't rake in billions of profits each year and claim that nuclear energy is oh so cheap and green energy oh so expensive.

Re:Are they sure? (2, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793638)

...and waste taxpayers money by taking care of the waste.

There's no such thing as nuclear waste, only nuclear fuel you haven't configured your reactor to burn yet.

Warm River Cave (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792526)

Makes me think researchers are idiots; folks who live there have known about the hot springs for hundreds of years.

Places with names like 'White Sulphur Springs' suggest anything? And there's a cave I've been in nearby (admittedly over the line in Virginia) with water temperatures over 100F.

Re:Warm River Cave (4, Informative)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792584)

If anyone's an idiot, it idiot's who don't RTFA before making idiotic comments. The research wasn't simply to find hot springs, it was to identify which locations in the US were the most favourable for Geothermal Energy production.

Re:Warm River Cave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792610)

Makes me think researchers are idiots

Yep, you're an idiot if you're one of these researchers. Folks around these parts'll tell you that every single one of them has been everywhere in the country looking for hotter spots than in West Virginia. And I've personally let my body soak in Death Valley Californy and inside the volcanic spots of Hawaii. And by God, West Virginia is the best. If you think otherwise, you're an idiot.

Tell me, what makes them so much better than other hot springs in other parts of the country? Or do you have to be an idiot researcher to know that?

Re:Warm River Cave (-1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792640)

Yup, 200C is quite close to 100F.
Personally, I think that postings like the parent makes a good case that America really needs to invest and increase the spending on education. Without it, we will continue to churn out ppl like this. Of course, s?he is from West Virgina (the land of dueling banjos in far too many places).

Re:Warm River Cave (0, Flamebait)

nwmann (946016) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792646)

i think the indication was that the above ground water was 100f, indicating a much hotter source of the heat made likely of molten rock. were the water 200c i don't believe it would be considered a hot spring any more so much as a deathly vapor spring. choke and die on your pompous cock please and thank you.

Re:Warm River Cave (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792684)

There are LOADS of hot springs in which the water is 100F, but underneath it, the water remains relatively low temp (say 150F). The reason is that you can have relatively porous ground that allows the heat up there. Out here in the west, we have loads of hot springs, with the heat being down at 20-30K and even then, it is only at 160F. Basically, there is no real correlation of a hot spring at 100F and temps below.

The pompous remark was the original poster calling researcher idiots. Since they had only 4 data points for the state throughout history, nobody had looked at the state. Yet, the poster either did not read the article (could not read it?), or just decided to put down others without a single intelligent thought. I am guessing that you were the original poster.

Re:Warm River Cave (1)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792872)

choke and die on your pompous cock please and thank you

Do you really think GP is that supple?

Re:Warm River Cave (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792918)

choke and die on your pompous cock please and thank you

Do you really think GP is that supple?

He didn't stipulate that said member had to be attached at the time...

Re:Warm River Cave (-1, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793074)

Personally, I think that postings like the parent makes a good case that America really needs to invest and increase the spending on education.

Or pre-emptive euthanasia, South of the Mason-Dixon.

By the way, today I read a Business Week article about how people live a lot longer in the Northern States. They listed the states where peoples' life expectancy is the shortest and they were all Southern, deep-red states. Of course the Hawaii is first for longest life and the District of Columbia is dead last (but they're not a state). But if you look at numbers 40-50 it's all like Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, etc.

So maybe natural selection is doing it's work.

Re:Warm River Cave (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792814)

What part of the summary, never mind the article, suggests that simply finding geothermal activity was the research goal here? I mean, here's your first sentence:

Researchers have uncovered the largest geothermal hot spot in the eastern United States.

Did you seriously stop after reading title? And then criticise the researchers for not noticing things?

Re:Warm River Cave (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793040)

Did you seriously stop after reading title? And then criticise the researchers for not noticing things?

You're both missing the point. The point is that with a bit of luck the earth could swallow WV!

Re:Warm River Cave (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793096)

Warm River Cave is kind of a weenie name, dontcha think?

If we're basing facts on things like this, I'm keeping my money in Wyoming on the Firehole River. That's much more macho sounding.

How 'Green'? (3, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792552)

Will they be scraping even more mountains off the planet to get to it? Will they fill the remaining creek beds up with the effluvia from getting to it? Will they keep even more public roads under a permanent state of "repair" and detour to disguise the fact that they're simply ruining more tax funded roadway with heavy machinery? Will they drive residents out of even more entire towns due to blasting damages and constant noise from heavy machinery? Are they going to do anything with the energy rather than find cheaper ways to dig coal? WV has two industries, coal and railroad. If they replaced coal money with energy money the railroads would die. They won't let that happen. They've been fighting off a 3/4 MV high tension line for years, you think they're going to allow an energy exporting industry to pop up, string wire for multi MV lines and sell electricity to its neighbors now that they're got them hooked on WV coal? I lived there are loved it. But I realized the state is owned by stockholders for whom green is considered a place to dig. Even of they took advantage of a chance to do something good, they wouldn't do it right -- they'd do it cheaply to maximize profits and the population would suffer the effects. WV *was* green. It's owners don't give a shit about green.
   

Re:How 'Green'? (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792650)

OTH, somebody like Google will have no issue with putting in their OWN system, setting up a data center, and shipping bits/bytes out. What would that do to WV? It would lead to a massive influx of money seeking to do the same. And that would lead to the high tension lines as well. For WV, this is the best thing possible.

Re:How 'Green'? (1)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792920)

It would lead to a massive influx of money seeking to do the same.

I'm a resident of WV, and what you've said will probably never happen. There are a ton of reasons businesses don't locate in my state. The State Chamber of Commerce has come out with suggestion after suggestion as to what needs to be done to attract more business, and it's ignored every time. The state legislature is run by attorneys and lobbyists for the coal and timber industries.

There's a reason Forbes magazine ranks WV at the bottom or near the bottom in all categories that are good (like ability to attract new business), and there's a reason WV is ranked at or near the top in all categories that are bad (percentage of obese, smokers, etc.).

This news will be good news only for those who wish to exploit it for their own greed.

Re:How 'Green'? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793428)

I have spent some time teaching there. Believe me, if you have geo-thermal close to the top, rather than deep, then you will see money chasing it. 200C on a binary system is pretty good.

Re:How 'Green'? (1)

Veetox (931340) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793038)

I think there are easy ways to get around these issues, even for the greediest of coal moguls. Investments will have to be moved away from coal soon anyway, because demand for this raw material will decrease due to the search for alternatives, increased value and safety of nuclear energy (that could be backed by a natural gas system - a plenteous resource in the US), and government policy. Owners of oil production in the Middle East have already moved to investment in other natural resources - they saw this coming.

Coal companies could use already mined land for construction of geothermal facilities. That's an investment, a recovery, AND probably a tax break. Or they could rest on their laurels and wait for the rest of the US to completely abandon coal, thus leaving them with defunct facilities, raped land, and a hefty clean-up bill from the EPA. They've got time to make a decision, sure. But I wouldn't give them any more than 10 years to figure it out.

Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792622)

Oil Well drillers want to put a hole in the ground and get money out of it. Simple as that. Most oil wells last about 20 years (if lucky). A binary geo-thermal well will last 50+ years assuming that you do not pump it too fast.

Dems run around throwing money at Wind (meh) and Solar PV (a waste of money). Yet, the simple answer here is to not just support geothermal, but do it in a smart way. Most dry wells are ran down to about 10'K feet. Yet most heat is in the 10-20'K feet arena. So who not offer up a tax break for dry wellers to drill down to that region to locate heat. This would not occur everywhere, but it would occur where ever heat is generally known to exist. With this approach, drilling companies bear the first half of the risk while gov. then helps in the second half.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (5, Funny)

mean pun (717227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792680)

Dems run around throwing money at Wind (meh) and Solar PV (a waste of money).

This is what I always admire about the political climate in the US. There is always someone willing to come up with a well-considered, polite, nuanced, and rational treatise of the pro's and con's of a problem, even for a complicated problem such as alternative energy. No wonder that the US is universally considered the best-functioning democracy in the world.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (1, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792700)

Just because somebody does not offer up a full explanation of the issue or thoughts on it does not mean that it was not considered.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792790)

does not mean that it was not considered.

Then how did you get it so wrong or at least out of date?

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793152)

Just because somebody does not offer up a full explanation of the issue or thoughts on it does not mean that it was not considered.

So GP's one-word "meh" to Wind power was in fact the crystallization of a carefully thought out and cogent argument weighing up the pros and cons of that particular energy source?

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793196)

I don't think that it could be put any more cogently than 'meh.'

You act like you think that wind power is new, novel, innovative, or some combination of those. Its none of that. Its just 'meh'

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793388)

You act like you think that wind power is new, novel, innovative, or some combination of those. Its none of that. Its just 'meh'

First of all, those three words mean roughly the same thing. And since when is novelty the overriding criterion of an energy source's usefulness? Wind is a proven method, who cares that it's old?

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (1)

Shugart (598491) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793350)

I think my sarcasm detector just went off. I'm not sure because it's too polite, nuanced and rational. Perhaps you can hit me over the head with it? That I'd understand.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793672)

There is always someone willing to come up with a well-considered, polite, nuanced, and rational treatise of the pro's and con's of a problem,

There is also always someone willing to insert apostrophes into perfectly good plurals.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792832)

Dems run around throwing money at Wind (meh) and Solar PV (a waste of money).

Wind is a proven technology, although all these horizontal-axis wind turbines are stupid. Solar PV could pay back the energy cost of its production in 7 years in the 1970s, and can safely be assumed to be much better today. There really are things more important than money. Unfortunately, those in charge do not agree.

Yet, the simple answer here is to not just support geothermal, but do it in a smart way.

Oh, so you mean, only do it on a small scale with heat pipes?

Most dry wells are ran down to about 10'K feet. Yet most heat is in the 10-20'K feet arena.

Most of the time, if you dig down to where it's really hot, you're going to be making a steam vent. And then you're going to bring up radioactives. We don't need a copy of The Geysers anywhere in the world, it's an ecological disaster.

With this approach, drilling companies bear the first half of the risk while gov. then helps in the second half.

Why should government help at all? All they need to do is stop hindering. Government is against green power anyway; otherwise we'd have not just strip mining on BLM land, but also solar plants and the like; numerous entities would like to build them there but are being stymied while clear cutting is A-OK.

Geothermal is not the answer. Solar would be far more useful, as it produces power when we need it most, and we have control over the pollution inherent to the process... which we do NOT have over geothermal.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (1, Flamebait)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793206)

Solar PV could pay back the energy cost of its production in 7 years in the 1970s, and can safely be assumed to be much better today. There really are things more important than money. Unfortunately, those in charge do not agree.

I'll support Solar Power sometime after the manufacturers of Photovoltaics start powering their factories with Photovoltaics. Until then, STFU about Photovoltaics. Really. Even the manufacturers don't use it, AND THEY GET THE HARDWARE AT COST.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793522)

I'll support Solar Power sometime after the manufacturers of Photovoltaics start powering their factories with Photovoltaics.

Is your support somehow interesting?

Until then, STFU about Photovoltaics. Really.

Telling me what to do? Fail.

Even the manufacturers don't use it, AND THEY GET THE HARDWARE AT COST.

We are still permitting secondary effects to be ignored. If you count the cost of cleaning up the pollution produced by coal and oil plants then the cost of using that type of energy is MUCH higher. Unfortunately, we do NOT count that cost. We do not even hold power plants to our own EPA standards. You can find out-of-compliance plants as fast as you can pay people to climb stacks and drop probes in them. If we were to actually force the industry to pay the cost of its own monitoring, and then further actually force them to be in compliance, the cost of solar would become more attractive.

Your protests basically amount to making excuses for the entrenched energy monopolies. I am not interested.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793256)

Dems run around throwing money at Wind (meh) and Solar PV (a waste of money).

Wind is a proven technology, although all these horizontal-axis wind turbines are stupid. Solar PV could pay back the energy cost of its production in 7 years in the 1970s, and can safely be assumed to be much better today. There really are things more important than money. Unfortunately, those in charge do not agree.

Those "in charge" are the people investing in the technology and hoping for a payback on their investment. Government funding of the energy infrastructure is small in the US. Investment money will not go into a technology with a 7-year payback when there is plenty of opportunity for supplying energy with a shorter payback.

Yet, the simple answer here is to not just support geothermal, but do it in a smart way.

Oh, so you mean, only do it on a small scale with heat pipes?

Most dry wells are ran down to about 10'K feet. Yet most heat is in the 10-20'K feet arena.

Most of the time, if you dig down to where it's really hot, you're going to be making a steam vent. And then you're going to bring up radioactives. We don't need a copy of The Geysers anywhere in the world, it's an ecological disaster.

With this approach, drilling companies bear the first half of the risk while gov. then helps in the second half.

Why should government help at all? All they need to do is stop hindering. Government is against green power anyway; otherwise we'd have not just strip mining on BLM land, but also solar plants and the like; numerous entities would like to build them there but are being stymied while clear cutting is A-OK.

Geothermal is not the answer. Solar would be far more useful, as it produces power when we need it most, and we have control over the pollution inherent to the process... which we do NOT have over geothermal.

The best sites for large scale solar are not necessarily on old strip mines. Nevada has lots of sun and old copper mines but I'm not sure how much is BLM. Here's a map [blm.gov] of all the renewable projects the Nevada BLM knows about.

Re:Amazing how short-sighted dems and pols are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793202)

>> So who (sic) not offer up a tax break

Just what we need in this country. Another tax break. That usually solves the problem.

It's a hell of a lot more than double the price (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793380)

Drilling deep holes is astonishingly expensive and the price goes up just about exponentially with depth. You find what you are looking for AND THEN drill. Even in Australia where the best geothermal site is under the Cooper oil basin it's still a lot deeper than the oil and costs millions more to drill the test holes.

Collaboration? (4, Informative)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792648)

Although very generous, I think it's a bit of a stretch to call Google's grant to SMU a "collaboration", or to only mention Google and omit any mention of USDOE and other entities that have been funding this research at SMU and elsewhere for many years. For example, this this report from 2006 [inel.gov] , which points out the potential of the thermal hotspot in West Virginia...

It doesn't have the cool Google Earth graphics, however.

http://www.jordanshoes-discount.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792696)

Cheap Authentic air jordans shoes for sale online.We sold all the jordans shoes with discount off 60% and free shipping.Buy Air Jordan Shoes now! 1. visit websites of jordanshoes-discount.com [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,you will find jordans shoes [ttp] are of good quality.We contain Nike Jordan 2010 Shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 2009 shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 1 (I) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 2 (II) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 3 (III) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 4 (IV) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 5 (V) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 6 (VI) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 7 (VII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 8 (VIII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 9 (IX) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 10 (X) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 11 (XI) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 12 (XII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 13 (XIII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 14 (XIV) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 15 (XV) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 16 (XVI) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 17 (XVII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 18 (XVIII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 19 (XIX) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 20 (XX) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 21 (XXI) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 22 (XXII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Air Jordan 23 (XXIII) shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Jordan Mix Shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Nike Jordan Melo shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Jordan OL School shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Jordan L Style One shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Nike Jordan True Flight shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Nike Air Jordan All Day shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] ,Nike Walter Ray Allen shoes [jordanshoes-discount.com] .

Dammit it's not green energy (0)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792706)

West Virginia is a wild, beautiful place. They'll go in there and further exploit and destroy the natural beauty, like they have with coal mining (especially mountain top removal).
It's unconscionable.

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (5, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792740)

Actually, drilling is far more environmentally cleaner than is mining. Mining normally involves tailings, except for Coal. With coal, they simply strip mine it as you have pointed out. Geo-thermal, is a fairly clean operation. Yeah, it has its issues, but they are SOOO much less than Coal. In fact, it is around the same as Solar PV, and even less than Wind. Solar PV involves some pretty wicked chemicals. Likewise, Wind requires loads of Rare Earth Elements, iron, etc. In the end, you have to pick your poison on where you are going to get your energy. Myself? I will take geo-thermal. Ideally, we would allow all energy to compete on a level field, rather than allowing politicians to pick it by who lines their pockets.

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793090)

Actually, drilling is far more environmentally cleaner than is mining. Mining normally involves tailings, except for Coal. With coal, they simply strip mine it as you have pointed out. Geo-thermal, is a fairly clean operation. Yeah, it has its issues, but they are SOOO much less than Coal. In fact, it is around the same as Solar PV, and even less than Wind. Solar PV involves some pretty wicked chemicals. Likewise, Wind requires loads of Rare Earth Elements, iron, etc. In the end, you have to pick your poison on where you are going to get your energy. Myself? I will take geo-thermal. Ideally, we would allow all energy to compete on a level field, rather than allowing politicians to pick it by who lines their pockets.

The most 'green' power source would be nuclear fusion. We're already got one reactor on-line, and haven't had any problems at all with producing fuel or disposing waste. The only two issues right now are that we're only capable of harnessing a fraction of a percentage of the total energy output, and a lot of people end up with skin cancer from sitting in front of the reactor without any shielding.

And I maintain that oil and coal are more 'green' than most people are willing to admit. It is, after all, nothing more than recycled plant and animal material. The only drawback is the recycling process is somewhat lengthy which makes it less than ideal in the short term. But there is nothing inherently "Bad" about using carbon fuels for energy, and calling them 'non-renewable' is inaccurate.

In any event, most people who say they want to save the planet really mean they want to STOP the planet's natural processes and keep it frozen in this moment in time where it just so happens to be a nice place for humans to live. It hasn't been that way for most of Earth's history, or even the part where life was present, or even the part where complex life was present, or even the part where mammals were present. In other words, we can ruin this planet for humans and life will continue along with out us just as it has in the past.

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793232)

You might want to read above from the poster talking about a local Geothermal plant near his home that has huge issues with Arsenic clogging up the turbines - and the truly scary "EPA Approved" methods for cleaning and encapsulating it. It seems that Geothermal can bring with it a host of heavy metal issues :-(

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793472)

If properly handled it's a potential byproduct to use in CCA etc. There are plenty of ways of dealing with heavy metal contaminated water so long as you have a lot of water, a lot of spare land and vast amounts of clay. Of course it makes everything more expensive, but all energy sources have consequences.

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792780)

It's also a hopelessly poor area that will never have jobs based on anything but digging up or drilling for the stuff under it.

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792936)

It's ok, they're just poor white folks. If they were niggers, Dems would be falling over themselves to see who could shovel the most welfare candy on them, tell them how smart they are, and boot strap them into the White House.

Re:Dammit it's not green energy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793284)

Have you ever been to West Virginia? Much of the economy is based on mining, forestry, tourism, and agriculture. It's not hopelessly poor and dead end; many parts of it are quite nice. Even the low income areas are orders of magnitude better than inner cities in more populous areas.

Hrm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792758)

"If engineers are able to tap the heat..."

I never thought I'd say this about *anything* from West Virginia but...

*I'd tap that!*

Where is Senator Byrd? (3, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792764)

Too bad Senator Byrd passed away, he could have diverted tens of billions of dollars to WV to fund this effort, then we could have had the Robert Byrd Hot Air Energy Generation Facility, and his legacy would live on!

Re:Where is Senator Byrd? (5, Funny)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792798)

...then we could have had the Robert Byrd Hot Air Energy Generation Facility, and his legacy would live on!

      Robert Byrd left us his namesake Hot Air Energy Generation Facility. It's called the United States Senate.

  rd

Reminds me of a half dozen made for TV bad movies (1)

Howard2nd (162784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792792)

I am an engineer and know Murphy is an optimist.

I live in Florida, you already know how I feel about drilling for energy.

Be sure they have Tommy Lee Jones and Bruce Willis on retainer.

Just don't do it near cities.. (3, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792800)

They tried it in Basel (Switzerland), didn't work out too well for them.

another benefit of the obama presidency (3, Funny)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792808)

They should check other states. Maybe they too have former state senators/KKK members spinning in their graves at the idea of a black US president?

Either that, or Satan finally came to collect his due.

Take Me Home, Lava Flows (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792860)

Near Inferno, West Virginia
Fiery Mountains, pyroclastic rivers
Life is doomed there, 'midst the blackened trees
See the mighty mountains tremb'lin like leaves

Lava flows, take me home
To the place that erupts
West Virginia, baleful mama
Take me home, Lava flows.

Re:Take Me Home, Lava Flows (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793054)

I wonder how many younguns won't know the tune to sing this to. Made me laugh, we used to play the original song really loudly on the 8-track in my parent's Ford Capri while driving to the beach. Thanks for the earworm!

Gotta Love the URL (4, Funny)

lyonsden (543685) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792880)

- west-virginia-is-a-geothermal-ho.html

WV has a bad reputation, and story URLs like that are not going to help

Re:Gotta Love the URL (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792970)

That is actually pretty accurate. Energy companies have been raping WV for a long time and she just let's them.

Earthquakes? (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792898)

I thought this was tried both in Switzerland and Texas, with both resulting in very out of the ordinary earthquakes. Or was it caused by adding water to dry hot rock...

A West Virginia virgin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792924)

Q: What's a West Virginia virgin?
A: A girl who can run faster than her dad and brothers.

Almost heaven? Not any more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792972)

So they made this discover *after* strip mining everything. The West Virginia of the song is long, long gone. For us all that remains is a poster on the wall, a terrible view outside the window, a few sweet memories and a bottle of whisky.

Hover over that link again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33793116)

...Your MOM is a geothermal ho.

Geothermal Ain't Green (1, Interesting)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793254)

How much heat can we suck out of the earth before we start noticing effects? When we first sipped from oil deposits we thought the supply was unlimmited - so we built billions oil-fueled cars and painted ourselves into a corner. Would someone with real credentials please stand up and say what needs to be said: Geo-thermal is a finite supply - and at some level of human consumption mining it will destabilize our planet.

Re:Geothermal Ain't Green (1)

kraigory (1064868) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793442)

That's what I was wondering- if we take heat out, will it cool the earth? Global cooling?

question about geothermal energy (1, Interesting)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793304)

Much of the earth's internal heat is not generated by radioactive decay or tidal forces, but is transient, left over from when the earth formed. Its necessary for plate techtonics, which helps keep the surface chemically in balance despite erosion and natural forms of pollution. Its also necessary for the magnetic field and its shielding effect.

If we drill for geothermal energy for power on a large scale, do we hasten the earth's cooling by any appreciable amount? The effect must be tiny, and adverse results would be very, very, long term. But people don't seem to care very much about the very long term, and hastening the geological death of the earth would seem to me to be a very bad thing.

Maybe someone who's done a crude estimate could answer this. I haven't seen it discussed anywhere on the net.

WVU sofa fires... (3, Funny)

Corporate Drone (316880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793328)

Here we were, blaming undergrads for those couches pulled off of porches and set ablaze after WVU football games... and all along, it was just spontaneous combustion as hot spots poked through the surface...!

"shallow" (1, Troll)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793458)

and as shallow as 5 kilometers

Their definition of "shallow" varies greatly from mine.

Is it even practical to do geothermal energy at that depth?

Re:"shallow" (3, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793674)

Current drilling tech gets us to 10 kilometers or so, so the short answer is "yes."

Considering we're willing to (and do) drill for oil that deep I can't see depth being the real problem here.
=Smidge=

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...