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Volcano Power Plan Gets US Go-Ahead

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the lets-get-cooking dept.

Power 114

cylonlover writes "Having successfully negotiated the challenging regulatory slopes of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a host of Oregon state agencies, the Newberry Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) demonstration project is in the process of creating a new geothermal reservoir in central Oregon. The core of the new reservoir is a two mile (3.2 km) deep well drilled about four miles (6.4 km) from the center of Newberry Volcano. The rock surrounding the wellbore reaches temperatures in the order of 600 F (300 C), and is nearly impermeable to water. That, however, is about to change. Newberry Volcano is one of the largest and youngest volcanoes in the United States. Having last erupted about 1,300 years ago, it consists of over 400 individual volcanic vents, which, when combined, form a broad mounded landform referred to as a shield volcano. The Newberry EGS Demonstration geothermal reservoir is being formed in the high-temperature, low-permeability deep lava of the volcano's northwest flank."

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Oblig. Paris Hilton (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851597)

That's hot.

Fracking is dangerous... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851633)

But drilling holes into a live volcano is perfectly fine.

Yeah, I know. One is "green" and the other is "EEEVUL petroleum".

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (5, Funny)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 2 years ago | (#41851653)

Oh come on. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (2)

mlosh (18885) | about 2 years ago | (#41851695)

Yeah, this post needs a 'x whatcouldpossiblygowrong' tag.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853241)

or, as I prefer to use: whatcouldpossiblygowront

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#41851875)

With a comment like that... Jeremy Clarkson could build it.
Or given his trips to the US, Hammond.

Let's hope those 'what's' don't go wrong.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41852033)

I think this sort of dangerous stuff should be left to captain slow.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#41852295)

Yes. Probably not a bad idea. He probably wouldn't even finish his planning or organizing his wrenches (spanners) until the human race was extinct.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

mykey2k (42851) | about 2 years ago | (#41858093)

To be fair, May is the only one of the three that has driven on an active volcano in the second Hilux (the production vehicle used for the Pole trip).

He even built a tire cooling system for it.

He's clearly the most qualified. Godspeed Captain Slow!
-m

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41852303)

Oh come on. What could possibly go wrong?

Other than some barely perceptible tremors in an unpopulated area? By drawing heat out of the volcano, it will make it less likely to erupt. The waste water will have lots of sulfer, but that also occurs naturally. I don't see any serious concerns.

Unlike other green energy sources, geothermal can provide reliable 24/7/365 baseload power. We should be encouraging projects like this.

 

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852593)

The biggest concerns are around the history of this type of work. Geothermal power in the US hasn't been very economical due to the rather fast "cooling" of the material. See the mostly failed geothermal work done in Napa and Sonoma counties in California. Yes, they still operate - and even give tours. But they never made money and have shutdown most of their plants. Hopefully this one works better. I imagine they have learned from past mistakes, but my gut reaction is "not this again.".

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41858235)

See the mostly failed geothermal work done in Napa and Sonoma counties in California. Yes, they still operate - and even give tours. But they never made money and have shutdown most of their plants.

The Geysers [wikipedia.org] currently produce enough electricity to supply more than a million people. That is not peak production, but the main problem is not cooling but insufficient water. They are working now to expand capacity by injecting waste water. So I don't think this was as much of a failure as you describe. Besides, The Geysers GT plant was first opened in 1960. We have learned a tremendous amount about techniques like slant and horizontal drilling since then. Some new fracking techniques for opening fissures might be applied to GT to enable us to collect heat over a much wider area. There are lots of possibilities, but we won't find them if we don't do the research. Pilot plants like this are a good start.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853017)

Congratulations, you've mastered the mysteries of geodynamics. Please inform the rest of the scientific community on this. After all drawing water from ancient aquifers doesn't cause any problems and forcing water into fault lines doesn't destabilize anything.

"By drawing heat out of the volcano, it will make it less likely to erupt."
Maybe if they can cool the earth's mantle.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#41853087)

What about nuclear, hydroelectric, and tidal power?

And before I get modded down as a troll, let me point out that the OP drew some arbitrary lines that in the real world tend to be fuzzy.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41853793)

What about nuclear, hydroelectric, and tidal power?

What about them? Nuclear is politically untenable, plus it is expensive, and getting more so. Hydroelectric doesn't scale, most good dam sites are already taken. Tidal power also doesn't scale well and has harmful effects on tidal basins that are biodiversity hotspots.

Geothermal on the other hand, scales just fine. The side effects are minimal, and there is enough hot rock inside the earth to meet our current consumption for a few million years. We shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket, but it seems a lot more energy research dollars should go into geothermal. It has been the neglected stepchild of green energy, despite having the most potential.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 2 years ago | (#41856185)

And you missed most including this will lose a ton of power in transmission. And volcano power IS nuclear power - the earth is powered by a molten thorium reaction.

I am a huge proponent of LFTR based nuclear reactors, but I think the thorium energy alliance is advertising them the wrong way - not only are they vastly safer, but they can burn our nuclear waste in the short term, then switch to thorium when that is expired and while the thorium mining industry is established.
When Al Franken asked Peter Lions of the NRC "what are your thoughts about thorium," Peter Lions said essentially the entire industry is built around uranium. This is exactly why it is important to advertise the hybrid capability - it can in fact burn uranium, and in fact needs seed enriched uranium.

But the main goal should be establishing a thorium mining industry, creating a huge boon for America, as one of the byproducts of thorium mining is heavy rare earth elements, and China corners the market here, with 97% of it. They force jobs out of the US by forcing companies to build factories in China to use these rare earths. Thorium mining and LFTR reactors mean jobs for Americans, safer, longer fueled reactors, energy independence, far less waste and much of it useful in other industries, and since the LFTR burns the dangerous elements, the waste remaining is safe in 200-300 years.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41853507)

The waste water will have lots of sulfer, but that also occurs naturally.

Well, there's a serious concern right there. Dose makes the poison.

And we need to consider what's attached to that sulfur. It usually isn't elemental sulfur. Metals such as iron, lead, copper, etc are usually attached. They're naturally occurring as well, but not in the concentrations dealt with in hydrothermal fluid.

Having said that, it's merely a serious problem that adds cost to the system, not an insurmountable one.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (5, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41854877)

The waste water will have lots of sulfer, but that also occurs naturally.

Well, there's a serious concern right there. Dose makes the poison.

Ideally, your primary water loop is self-contained and thus never leaves the system (volcano and primary geothermal equipment in this case). You send the water down, it picks up heat and sulfur and other stuff, it comes up. Then you run it through a heat exchanger where the heat (and only the heat) is transferred to a second water loop. That second loop is what drives your turbine generators. The reason for this isn't environmental protection. It's to protect the generators from corrosion and all sorts of crud that might be in the primary loop water.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#41853561)

The waste water will have lots of sulfur, but that also occurs naturally.

so? oil, arsenic, and mercury, and various radioactive elements are all natural to. just remember natural != good.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41853743)

Oh come on. What could possibly go wrong?

Other than some barely perceptible tremors in an unpopulated area? By drawing heat out of the volcano, it will make it less likely to erupt.

And by injecting lots of water into a magmatic region, you are decreasing the viscosity of the magma, so it can more easily spill out. Also, rock under pressure and temperature that doesn't melt while devoid of water can melt after being hydrated. It's like salting ice, it melts because of the change in melting point.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#41854369)

it will make it less likely to erupt

Uh, no. First, you'll not affect the upwelling of heat from the lower mantle. Second, you might increase the viscosity in the localized region around the well, which might have the opposite effect by forcing any upwelling magma to seek other directions for expansion, should there be pressure to expand. Third, if the water does ever reach the magma, it will enhance the probability of an eruption.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41857491)

' cooling -> less likely to erupt. You are kidding, right? Or else you have a complete geophysical + geochemical model of volcanos in your head, and thus can model particular evolutions of the system, and an understanding of all possible such evolutions resulting from interventions like extracting heat from a particular element. "What could go wrong?" == "Can't be anything nonlinear in that." 'Butterfly effect' and all that, so you have to be kidding.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about 2 years ago | (#41852969)

We're just playing with volcanically active areas. It has been done a million times. Don't worry your pretty little head.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about 2 years ago | (#41855235)

For the love of god what do you bloody fucking hippies want? Want us to shut it all down so we can go back to the god damn stone age? How about we all sit around the camp fire, smoke weed, and eat what ever nuts we can find?

We had a great alternative. Nuclear till you fucking eco nuts started screaming your damn heads off about radiation and shit. If you would have kept your damn yaps shut and just offered suggestions instead of protesting we'd have sustainable and safe nuclear reactors now. But now, you had to scream, yell, and stall research in the '70 so we have this crap to show for it.

Hydro electric? How about that? Aw hell no, we are damning up rivers and disrupting fish migrations. Time for you fuckers to scream an yell about that. How about working with us to come up with a workable solution? No easier to bitch and moan about it.

Coal? Hell, no that is to much pollution. Ripping big holes in mother earth and shit. Can't have that. News for you flower boy. You are doing the same thing to coal that you did to nuclear. Sit down and shut the fuck up. We know about the problems, let us work on them and get them fixed.

I don't want to hear your shit about geothermal. This is damn good source of energy. We don't have to dam rivers or create radioactive waist. No large carbon emissions. Shut the fuck up and let us figure it out.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 2 years ago | (#41856427)

I've read hydro also slows the earth rotation. I know no more than that - perhaps snopes does.

The problem is eco-nuts don't understand how radiation works - I got a kick out of telling one of the idiots that her sunburn is a radiation burn and she denied it. Most don't know that coal emits scads of radiation, natural gas emits radon, granite contains thorium (a weak alpha emitter), potassium, which you need to live is a beta emitter... the list goes on. The fact is, radiation is inversely proportional to half life - thorium decays very slowly (thousands of years) and isn't very dangerous. Something like radon decays in 84 days I believe, and is moderately dangerous. The unstable form of Protactinium you get from certain nuclear reactions that has a half life of several seconds (again, going from memory, I believe it was seconds) is horribly dangerous.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (5, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#41851683)

I think the volume of ground affected by fracking is quite a bit larger than that hole being drilled into the volcano, and the goal with fracking is to mess around with the pressure under the surface, where ideally this is close a pressure neutral (volume changing, and that, I suspect will happen at/above surface level) system. Lastly, waste products from fracking tend not to be well controlled/cleaned except maybe on paper, the water (or other liquid) use here should be in a fairly closed system and shouldn't be introduced to toxic chemicals. Not that this is the wisest idea either, but an experimental site should provide interesting details as to the danger.

Your comment could similarly read as:

Stalin (who was once a baby) is horrible
but other people are perfectly fine.

Yeah, I know. One is "human" the other is "a madman".

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851771)

I think the volume of ground affected by fracking is quite a bit larger than that hole being drilled into the volcano, and the goal with fracking is to mess around with the pressure under the surface, where ideally this is close a pressure neutral (volume changing, and that, I suspect will happen at/above surface level) system. Lastly, waste products from fracking tend not to be well controlled/cleaned except maybe on paper, the water (or other liquid) use here should be in a fairly closed system and shouldn't be introduced to toxic chemicals. Not that this is the wisest idea either, but an experimental site should provide interesting details as to the danger.

Your comment could similarly read as:

Stalin (who was once a baby) is horrible
but other people are perfectly fine.

Yeah, I know. One is "human" the other is "a madman".

Yep.

And to carry your analogy even further, we need to kill all babies born in Georgia to prevent the damage another madman could cause.

After all, we know Georgia is a breeding ground for maniacal madmen who grow up to kill tens of millions.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#41851825)

That's exactly what I'm arguing the OPs comment leads towards.

Just because one kind of messing around underground is dangerous, doesn't mean all kinds are. Fracking and this type of geothermal piping are rather different beasts.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (5, Interesting)

Tator Tot (1324235) | about 2 years ago | (#41852475)

I think the volume of ground affected by fracking is quite a bit larger than that hole being drilled into the volcano, and the goal with fracking is to mess around with the pressure under the surface, where ideally this is close a pressure neutral (volume changing, and that, I suspect will happen at/above surface level) system. Lastly, waste products from fracking tend not to be well controlled/cleaned except maybe on paper, the water (or other liquid) use here should be in a fairly closed system and shouldn't be introduced to toxic chemicals. Not that this is the wisest idea either, but an experimental site should provide interesting details as to the danger.

It bothers me when people discuss their uninformed opinions relating to a topic as fact.

1) The amount of fluid used in these deep shale formations is quite large, but even when you drill horizontally for a mile and then fracture 1000+ feet above and below the hole, you're still typically 12,000 feet below the surface (therefore the "frac zone" is from 11,000 to 13,000 feet). So even if you have DEEP water table of 2000 feet below the surface (where nearly none are this deep), the alleged "toxic chemicals" would have to travel a distance of around 9,000 feet (in this case) in order to taint the water supply. I've sat through enough presentations with REAL data obtained in the field to know that the fractures occur nowhere near these water zones.

2) The purpose of fracking is to increase the permeability of low-permeability shales (traditional reservoirs are in the mili-darcy range were unconventional reservoirs are more in the micro to nano-darcy range). They use high pressure fluid to open up the shale. Has nothing to do with adding pressure under the surface.

3) Waste products tend not to be controlled? Are you fucking nuts? The amount of regulation on what to do with the waste water is HUGE (and the assfucks that attempt to dump these fluids are massively fined), not to mention that a good chunk of fracking research goes into figuring out how to best reclaim and reuse of the fluid. Besides being 99% water and sand, the other additives are typically guar, biocides, polyacrylamides for friction reduction, corrosion inhibitors, citric acid, and ethylene glycol.

By the way, I work in a plant that makes a variety of additives for drilling and fracking fluids. Would you believe me if I told you that our facility is not capable or certified to handle any type of hazardous materials? That would mean that our company is going to get shut down by the government if they find out.... or maybe that the majority of additives for drilling and fracking fluids are non-hazardous?

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853723)

So you work for a company who supplies fracking outfits with the toxic shit they put in to the water, and then you expect us to believe you when you say "fracking isn't dangerous" with your totally non-biased opinion. Yeah.... Go put a bunch of ethylene glycol in your water, and then drink it if it is non-hazardous.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41854257)

Did you even read his comments or did it ever occur that just maybe he is right? Please read the post and how about starting with point #1.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Tator Tot (1324235) | about 2 years ago | (#41855149)

99% is sand and water, typically, and the other 1% is a combination of the remaining products. Plus, Fido most likely injests more ethylene and propylene glycol from his dog food than what is present in these drilling fluids.

How would you feel if you knew that they use diesel as a non-aqueous based drilling fluid to drill these wells thousands of feet before they frack? Would you still drink tap water if knew they were drilling a hole using diesel as a drilling fluid? I mean, they've only been doing that for 60+ years.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853921)

Nice pleasant "corrosion inhibitors" like sodium hydroxide... and what else? That stuff is fun to drink, eh?

I just sat through a presentation where the guy said that somewhere, sometime soon, someone will slip up and contaminate groundwater with these chemicals, and it WILL cause a political knee-jerk reaction and more regulation of the industry. Someone won't make their containment walls properly, try to save $$, and they'll get bit. Much like BP and their Gulf incident, a fracking incident is only a matter of time...

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 2 years ago | (#41857253)

Sodium Hydroxide is fun stuff - we used to make soap out of the stuff at grandma's house, but we called it lye.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41854139)

Propylene Glycol is safe to swallow and is used in some medications and even in pet food (will cause diarrhea in larger amounts). Ethylene Glycol is a poison. Why isn't the safer material being used?

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (2)

phoebus1553 (522577) | about 2 years ago | (#41854751)

Waste products tend not to be controlled? Are you fucking nuts? The amount of regulation on what to do with the waste water is HUGE (and the assfucks that attempt to dump these fluids are massively fined),

Once again, on paper. I suggest you go out to the formations where they *do* fracking and take a drive around. You'll find more than a few locations where good chunks of land has been completely sterilized by the truck-driver that got tired of waiting in line at the disposal station and dumped in the ditch. Either that or his company told him to drive 'over that hill there' and dump it out so they could get back to drilling.

I don't know what the hell they put into or take out of the wells, but the effects are pretty indisputable when they're staring you in the face. Maybe your additives are ok, but some others apparently aren't, or create bad things when they are mixed.

The rapid expansion of drilling up here in the 2nd largest production state in the union has meant that the enforcement agencies are ill equipped to handle the volume of complaints. They act on as many as they can to show that enforcement does happen but most just get filed away. End result: you have a pretty good chance of getting away with it.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | about 2 years ago | (#41855539)

go out to the formations where they *do* fracking and take a drive around. You'll find more than a few locations where good chunks of land has been completely sterilized by the truck-driver that got tired of waiting in line at the disposal station and dumped in the ditch.

I don't want to seem like a know-it-all, mainly because I didn't make the original statement, but you do know that salt, vinegar, and citric acid all kill most small plants, right? Just because nothing grows there doesn't mean "OMG it's toxic to everything!!1!", it means that something is inhibiting the growth of indigenous plants.

Ever looked at the land around an organic cattle rancher's feed lot? Organic pig farm? There's a whole lot of dead area, and it's not because they use dangerous chemicals, it's because there's just too much feces, urine, or water, and significant plant life won't exist.

Remember, "natural" doesn't mean "harmless".

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Tator Tot (1324235) | about 2 years ago | (#41855659)

Remember that you have to get a permit from the state in order to frack. If the amount of waste generated is too much, or if the state doesn't have the resources to regulate the disposal of the fluids, then it's the state that should hold back from offering fracking permits until they have a better hand on the situation, assuming they are over burdened.

But then again, it's the state that is reaping the tax benefits of the increased O&G production. They will most likely be less concerned about the environment knowing they are getting much needed tax dollars.

And with respect to "land that has been completely sterilized" by frack fluid: Many times a company will drill using salt based water fluids (could be sodium chloride or calcium chloride, typically), or more often, the actual rock formation contains salt brine that incorporates into the fluid. The fluids are tested for salt, and if it is too high, it does have to be disposed of in a proper way. What you describe may most likely from high salt concentration than "some dangerous unknown brew of toxic chemicals".

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41856749)

The majority of an alcoholic beverage is water. Does that mean it is lawful to serve to children?

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 2 years ago | (#41857065)

So how do you solve the additional and sometimes dangerous levels of radon that get forced to the surface in this process (or so I've heard)? I've seen the anti-fracking movie and heard industry rebuttals, but they didn't really cover radon. I personally don't have an objective opinion, as I tend to take any documentary with a slice of pie (as opposed to a grain of sand), as they usually are about as objective as a union member defending unions.

fracking is profitable (1)

manaway (53637) | about 2 years ago | (#41857195)

3) Waste products tend not to be controlled? Are you fucking nuts? The amount of regulation on what to do with the waste water is HUGE (and the assfucks that attempt to dump these fluids are massively fined), not to mention that a good chunk of fracking research goes into figuring out how to best reclaim and reuse of the fluid.

Ummm you do know that corporations compare, among many other items, the costs of these 4 things:

1) The costs of doing a workman-like, regulations-following, job of cleaning up.

2) The costs of cleaning up well enough to avoid prosecution.

3) The fines for not cleaning up. Including lobbying, legal fees, and the odds of being prosecuted for not cleaning up.

4) The costs of letting the local buffer corporation go bankrupt while the public pays for clean up.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41851697)

Iceland does this
They get lots of power from geothermal

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852825)

New Zealand does too. Nothing new about this whole idea.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853069)

And those areas are already volcanically active and prone to quakes. Nothing to lose really. We're talking about a relatively stable area here. Bit more to lose in this case.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41854893)

Naw not much to lose. It's just rural eastern Oregon which none of the liberals around here in Portland actually care about.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 2 years ago | (#41856743)

And Eastern Oregon is mostly conservative which helps explain your "screw them" attitude.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (1)

GeoGreg (631708) | about 2 years ago | (#41857447)

This Newberry Volcano we're talking about. It is active. It may have been 1300 years since the last eruption, but that's nothing for a volcano like this. They aren't drilling into the magma chamber or anything. Induced seismicity is a real thing, but I've never heard of it producing earthquakes that did more than rattle some windows and maybe knock a few pictures off the walls. This is a volcano surrounded by lava flows, so I doubt there are very many people living in the area, anyway.

Re:Fracking is dangerous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852569)

Go home troll you're drunk...

  Iceland has been drilling and living on geothermal power for 40 years now, and they have 0 problem associated with it. The US have barely started to use frakking to get Gaz and already your potable water is affected.

  The differences between geothermal power and frakking are so huge I don't know where to start.

  A] Volume of fluids injected

  B] Type of chemicals mixed in the water

  C] Size of the area affected

  You're comparing a family barbecue and a petroleum refinery and telling they are the same because they both emit smoke.

Now the power company's going to buy it (4, Funny)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#41851635)

And shut it down. Earl's never going to get rich.

Re:Now the power company's going to buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851917)

Not the baby

Re:Now the power company's going to buy it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851971)

I thought that getting your startup bought out was *the* method of getting rich?

Re:Now the power company's going to buy it (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#41852093)

They bought the mountain to prevent it from being used for energy production.

Sounds Fishy (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 2 years ago | (#41851637)

Save the lava-salmon! Fish-ladder or bust!

Oblig. Handsome Jack (1)

Meneth (872868) | about 2 years ago | (#41851651)

They're mountains that shoot fire! That is literally the definition of the word awesome, am I right?

Re:Oblig. Handsome Jack (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41851779)

Not to mention it's "Vulcan energy" so it even sounds cool - maybe it comes from Spock's home planet!

Drilling two miles into a live volcano? (4, Funny)

badzilla (50355) | about 2 years ago | (#41851673)

The story has the words in the wrong order.

Having last erupted about 1,300 years ago... That, however, is about to change.

Fixed it for you.

Re:Drilling two miles into a live volcano? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#41852461)

Yeah, who in their right mind goes poking a hibernating bear?

Re:Drilling two miles into a live volcano? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41853105)

Iceland. They're not scared of bears.

Re:Drilling two miles into a live volcano? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 years ago | (#41857969)

Iceland. They're not scared of bears.

Ilya Brysgalov is. [youtube.com]

Re:Drilling two miles into a live volcano? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41858121)

Man, love a good hockey reference. But not today.

i am not original... (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41851713)

I for one welcome the new lava monster overlords!

Re:i am not original... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851969)

Yeah. They better not dig too deep, or they'll be dealing with a lot of Fun.

Re:i am not original... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852027)

Yeah. They better not dig too greedily and too deep, or they'll be dealing with a lot of Balrog.

FTFY

Volcano power, bitches! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851765)

Wanna see my volcano collection?

Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (4, Interesting)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#41851773)

Puna Geothermal Ventures has been operating for decades. http://www.hawaiisenergyfuture.com/articles/Geothermal.html [hawaiisenergyfuture.com]
Power from the geothermal plant is sold to Hawaii Electric at the same price as power from oil-fired sources.
Oil and naphtha generated electric capacity has been increased so that power from wind/geothermal is not needed (this was a few years ago though).
Geothermal power has been unreliable with many mechanical problems. There are environmental issues: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/28/hawaii-residents-raise-serious-concerns-about-pgv-geothermal-energys-clean-energy-credentials/ [cleantechnica.com]

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (5, Informative)

biodata (1981610) | about 2 years ago | (#41852063)

On the other hand, Iceland generates all its power from geothermal and hydro AFAIR, and has no oil or naptha power (whatever that is). I think there might be an issue with who does it rather than the underlying technology. Incidentally, Iceland has also sent top bankers to jail for fraud over the financial crisis, and recently come out of recession and into positive growth with reducing unemployment. I think they just do things differently.

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852953)

But we're 'Mericans, damn it! Why would we want to do something here that works elsewhere in the world?

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41853201)

It's not so much who does it, it's that the entire country lives on top of their geothermal station.

If they get it wrong, the entire country goes away.

If they get it wrong in Oregon, well, that's a west coast problem.

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853237)

Iceland also has 300,000 people which constitutes a small city in most places and their entire banking collapse could have been paid off by Bill Gates with plenty to spare.

The really amazing thing is that when they hiked taxes and cut services people thought it was the right move rather than rioting in the streets.

Don't compare Apples to portions of oranges?

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#41854405)

I'm confused by the naptha reference as well. It's one of the primary components for gasoline... So perhaps it's being used as a fancy word substitution.

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41856973)

mod parent up.

Geothermal power has been tested for decades in geologically active countries, including Iceland. There have been geo accidents and no geothermal-using nation has "gone away".

Geo can be unreliable and expensive, but the fracking comparison was with regard to environmental safety, and on that count, geo wins hands down. We simply don't have decades of experience injected proprietary blends of chemicals near groundwater.

Re:Someone comment on the Hawaii experience (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | about 2 years ago | (#41852643)

From one of the images in the article:

Next Generation Geothermal
Enhanced Geothermal Systems can produce energy from previously unusable sites. Unlike conventional geothermal, which relies on locating subterranean reservoirs of heated water, this technology uses hot, dry basement rock to heat water in artificially created reservoirs. Most water pumped out is returned in this closed-loop system.

Sounds like something out of a 007 movie (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41851903)

Sounds like something out of a 007 movie

Re:Sounds like something out of a 007 movie (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41852775)

No kidding! First the 400 ton walnut theft, now volcano power - is there a supervillian on the loose, or is a this just some weird ad campaign for Skyfall?

Re:Sounds like something out of a 007 movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853623)

Mmmmm....

Walnuts roasting on a volcanic fire...

Re:Sounds like something out of a 007 movie (1)

sobachatina (635055) | about 2 years ago | (#41856139)

... Jack Frost nipping at your nose.

This is stupid... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41851965)

What they need to do is get rid of the volcano by filling it up with cement and then build a nuclear power plant on top of it.

Re:This is stupid... (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#41854437)

Isn't a geothermal plant, by definition, a nuclear power plant? (Earth's core is heated by nuclear decay)

Re:This is stupid... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#41854617)

All power except for one is nuclear.

Solar? What is the sun but a giant thermonuclear reactor in the sky?

Wind? That's just tapping into the energy flow caused by the sun unevenly heating the Earth, and solar is nuclear. Same for hydroelectric - the sun drives the water cycle they exploit.

So are biofuel, oil, coal, gas, anything coming from dead plants or animals, no matter how long they've been dead. Plants get energy from the GTNRITS, and we get energy from them. Hell, it doesn't even have to be dead - the proverbial "hamster-wheel power" is itself powered by the GTNRITS.

Geothermal is just using the heat of the Earth's core, and it got that from natural nuclear decay. And I really shouldn't have to explain why nuclear power is nuclear.

So what's the one non-nuclear power I can think of? Tidal.

Re:This is stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41857889)

Thank you Sir, for restoring my faith in Slashdot.

Too many... (1)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#41852049)

famous last words to choose from.... aaaargh!

Vertricon Industries? (1)

Kaldesh (1363017) | about 2 years ago | (#41852139)

In other news the CEO of Verticon Industries, Dr Evil assures us there's nothing to worry about.

Energy Independence (2)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#41852277)

Having successfully negotiated the challenging regulatory slopes of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a host of Oregon state agencies

And they wonder why it's still a pipe dream. You have to go through this even for a "green" power source.

Re:Energy Independence (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | about 2 years ago | (#41852591)

Hey it's not all bad.
"The DOE has granted over US$20 million to the project"

I wonder why they have to go through both the BLM and the FS.

Re:Energy Independence (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41852905)

I wonder why they have to go through both the BLM and the FS.

In the National Forest, the Forest Service administers the land above the ground and the Bureau of Land Management administers it below ground (mineral rights, etc).

They actually duplicate (2)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#41853335)

BLM runs the both land and what's beneath it for all public land. NFS comes in when that land is labeled as a national forest. There's duplication, and the two aren't even in the dame department.

I'm surprised they didn't have to get approval from the Fish & Wildlife Service and other agencies. They probably did, just not mentioned in the article.

Re:They actually duplicate (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41854091)

Politicians in California had to be threatened wih political death before they backed off much of the costly, time-consuming regulatory bullshit in the way of new electric plants.

Let that be a lesson for the cumulative weight of piecemeil-that-sounds-good ideas adding up to grind things to a halt. You don't need a corrupt system of government officials for government to end up in the same place -- smashed economy because nobody can do anything without permission.

Re:They actually duplicate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41854343)

Wonderful! I want to be in the Dame Department too!

Re:Energy Independence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41855061)

I live in Portland and have been following this project for years. You know what one of the saddest parts of this is? It's that the Sierra Club and other environmental groups lobbied strongly against this project and held it up in the regulatory process for years. First the Sierra Club complained that a geothermal plant would be an eyesore on the landscape. When they didn't get public traction with that they brought in a team of lawyers and scientist to argue that the geothermal plant would make the caldera unstable and lead to a volcanic eruption.

Brittleness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852413)

Reduced plasticity resuting from cooling the rock by pumping cooler water in will reduce the rocks ability to deform with magma pressure pushing up. The rock could fracture, releasing part , or all of the magma reservoir if magma was flowing into the chamber under the rock. Shield volcanoes are the most explosive and dangerous. Boom!

Master of Orion 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41852911)

So I can check this off my "Follow in foot steps of my alien technology" in MOO2?

One of the youngest volcanoes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41853173)

Am I missing something? Are not Alaska and Hawaii part of the United States? Do they not have active (like now, not 1,3000 years ago) volcanoes?

What about Mt. Saint Helens... that erupted... what, 32 years ago? Technically still an active Volcano...

I am tired of misinformation and misrepresentation in main media... I hold /. to a higher standard.....
sorry...

Re:One of the youngest volcanoes? (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#41853833)

They did not say, "most recently active", they said "youngest". I would read that to mean the volcano that had it's very first eruption most recently.

Re:One of the youngest volcanoes? (1)

GeoGreg (631708) | about 2 years ago | (#41857601)

Apparently, there has been activity there for at least 850,000 years, which is not particularly young. The 1300-year interval since the last eruption is not long by geologic standards, but there are plenty of volcanoes just in the Cascades that have erupted more recently (Glacier Peak, Baker, Ranier, Hood, St. Helen's, Shasta, Medicine Lake, Lassen). So, Newberry is in the class of "recently active volcanoes", which someone probably simplified to "youngest". Not very accurate, but not terribly misleading, either.

Mt St Helen Revisited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41854067)

Wasn't steam that blew the top off Mt St Helen?

Question: water consumption rate (1)

bityz (2011656) | about 2 years ago | (#41854241)

Does anybody know the projected steady-state water consumption rate when running in production? From the report on the test plan [newberrygeothermal.com] , it looks like they are assuming (rather optimistically) a 2% leak in the in-ground flow, but it is unclear to me what the evaporative loss would be during a production run rather than a test.

Can you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41856735)

Can you imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these? (it had to be said, posting as AC so as not to ruin my Karma ;)

Foolish DOErves... has Tolkein taught us nothing? (1)

SketchOfNight (1010207) | about 2 years ago | (#41857411)

AltaRock will dig too greedily and too deep. You know what they will awaken in the darkness of Newberry.. shadow and flame.

Re:Foolish DOErves... has Tolkein taught us nothin (1)

SketchOfNight (1010207) | about 2 years ago | (#41857435)

Misspelled Tolkien's name in the subject... /facepalm.

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