Hot springs: More than just a spa

I was checking out the headlines on Yahoo!News this morning and saw this article: Ore. town uses geothermal energy to stay warm. It starts off by talking about a town in Oregon that has been using geothermal energy since 1990. They use it to keep the sidewalks warm which keeps them snow and ice free and to power a lot of, if not all of the city. The best part? “We didn’t know it was green. It just made sense,” said City Manager Jeff Ball.

The article continues by talking about geothermal energy use in general. Research into geothermal energy has been funded since the 1970s. There was a lapse in funding during George W. Bush’s presidency. But now President Obama is giving it plenty of funding and is allowing researchers to look more seriously at it.
One prospect that is being looked at and worked with is Enhanced Geothermal Systems, or EGS. EGS would, if they get the bugs worked out, allow anywhere to have geothermal power, not just those people living near geothermally active areas. The main problem with it right now is that it can cause earthquakes because of the drilling involved.

I didn’t know that this was such a great energy alternative. When I looked up “hot spring” in Wikipedia I found this map in the article that I find really interesting:

(You can click on it to get a better view.)
All those orange dots are “warm” hot springs and the red are “boiling”. I’d love to know how much power could be generated by tapping into all that activity. I have a feeling it would really help reduce the amount of pollution currently produced to power this country.


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