Welcome to the Energy Blog

  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.



After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum


Blog powered by Typepad

« China Takes Lead in Electric Cars | Main | New York's Plug-in Hybrid Inititive »

December 24, 2006



Kind of ironic, Nevada is using all this clean geothermal power, but it is stuck with all the nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

But of course look at the titanic energy (and water)waste that is Las Vegas.

With the abundant solar power there, not only could all their energy needs (even the huge waste)be met, they could probably even make more money exporting solar generated electricity than from gaming resorts. With water recycling and desalinization powered by solar as well.

kent beuchert

Looks like Nevada has made California's
vaunted "green" power production capabilities look pitifully inadequate. Those "million solar roofs" are about 15 million to few, looks like. And they aren't cheap. Even with subsidies, the owners will be gone before they are ever paid for. Geothermal is so superior to wind and most solar that its generated kilowatts are worth considerably more. If I were a utility, I'd take geothermal first, nuclear second, subsidize geoexchange heap pumps next, buy solar tower generated power next, and as a last resort would accept (with regret) wind generated power. This country has its priorities upside down.


That geothermal energy is limited by water availability and siting problems Kent. There just are not that many good spots to tap into economically.

The usual geothermal scheme is to send precious groundwater down the well and use the steam to generate power.

These severe limitations make geothermal problematic and extremely expensive if one assumes that sometime soon water will not be free.

What is also very ironic is that with energy conservation that 25% could be 100%. But how clean will that energy be if it destroys aquifers that human life depends upon?

Going towards a large percentage of geothermal generation would also release a lot of heat that would contribute to global warming.

Your list puts the best technology, solar, wind, and water power last. And a technology that should never have been used, nuclear, near the top. Unrealistic at best, disastrous at worst (if it were ever implemented on a large scale).


You like nukes Kent? Three Mile Island documentary on mSNBC right now.

See the people crying over the evacuation realizing they may never return, pets dead, homes (often the only substantial savings a family has) abandoned forever.

And it really happened at chernobyl. Try to empathize with those who suffered from real nuclear power accidents! You could be next.

Luigi Aronson

Come on Amazingdrx, say what you want, but these accidents are distractors from the real discussion of what is the best choice for the future.

Big Gav

Why would anyone consider nuclear a superior alternative to wind ?

Once wind turbines are built they provide clean, externality free power essentially forever with no fuel costs. Nuclear is just a money pit that leaves our grandchildren with a huge waste problem.

On the topic of geothermal, there are moves afoot down here to make geothermal one of our significant energy sources, with Tim Flannery outlining a vision he calls "Geothermia".



Dr X wrote: Kind of ironic, Nevada is using all this clean geothermal power, but it is stuck with all the nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

Nevada is also stuck with nuclear waste from geothermal power.


In general, geothermal can create air pollution from radon gas, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), CO2, methane, and ammonia emissions. Geothermal also has sizable thermal pollution due to its low thermal efficiency (approximately 20%) because of the relatively low steam temperatures.

Hydrothermal is the traditional commercial geothermal source. Hydrothermal uses hot water or steam directed to a steam turbine either on an indirect or direct basis, respectively. Most hydrothermal is based on hot water although steam can be found near geysers. The typical steam conditions are 400°F and 100 psi (significantly lower than fossil and nuclear generation schemes). Other hydrothermal drawbacks include its problem of depositing minerals on the components, and new wells must be drilled after a few years of use.


There's just no pleasing some people.


Do you really beleave we would be building Chernobyl or Three mile island type reactors. Do us all a big favor and educate yourself.


Good points buddy!

The only way geothermal power is practical on a large scale is in heating and cooling. But it is VERY practical!

Imagine replacing most of the cooling load, the brownout peak demand, with circulating water. In Venic, Ca, for instance, the newly declared zero emission city, cool ocean water could replace air conditioning. Probably over half the electric power use there.

And here's a really big one. Instead of shipping veggies all over the planet, grow them locally in greenhouses heated by solar heat with ground heat as a backup. On cool nights circulating pumps come on that use 50 degree ground temperature to keep greenhouse crops from freezing at night.

For home heating in cold climates a heat pump that boosts the plentiful ground heat at 50 degrees to 75 degrees to heat a home takes a fraction of the energy used by a conventional heating system.

This is the real energy saving potential of geothermal.

Geothermal electric power would be fine if/when a thermocouple with higher efficiency is developed. Say around 30%. Present efficiency is around 10%.

Higher temperature superconductors may change that someday, and make solar PV, batteries, and fuel cells much more efficient also.


I have taken the liberty of posting your blog on RenewablePost.com, a community driven website focused on renewable energy. Hope you don't mind.

Paul Dietz

Why would anyone consider nuclear a superior alternative to wind ?

Mmm, perhaps because it delivers power more predictably, is less obtrusive, kills fewer workers, and is likely less expensive?

David Caputo

We at Atlantic Geothermal are trying to be part of the vanguard of activists promoting safe, clean, geothermal electric generation through public education and research into new drilling and tunneling technologies which will dramatically reduce the costs associated with such facilities. We are currently conducting research into the acceptance and awareness penetration geothermal electric has with the American public, and advocating for increased government and private sector investment into this technology.

To this end we have created Hot Rocks Geothermal News, where we will be presenting our own material and linking to relevant news stories on this topic.

We welcome this blog's readers to visit our site and give us feedback on our efforts.


A project of Atlantic Geothermal, Florence, MA.


you green fags are rediculous


amazing doesnt even know what a thermocouple is or does. It just measures heat by using two disimilar metals that are connected. They produce a certain voltage when a certain temp of heat is applied.You can measure that voltage , convert it to a different signal and have taht temperature shown on instrumentation. A thermocouple has nothing to do with geothermal energy.



Extra! Extra! Read all about it, thermocouples that generate electric power!

Not exactly new to most of us macho man, hehey.

"The first RTG launched in space by the United States was in 1961..."


If you have looked into solar energy as a method for heating your home, panels are usually the first things that come up.

There are, however, other unique methods.

The Solar Heating Aspect You Have Never Heard of Before

The power of the sun is immense. The energy in one day of sunlight is more than the world needs. The problem, of course,

is how does one harness this power. Solar panels represent the obvious solution, but they have their downside. First,

they can be expensive depending upon your energy needs. Second, they do not exactly blend in with the rest of your home.

Passive solar heating represents a panel free method of harnessing the inherent energy found in the sun for heating

purposes. If you come out from a store and open the door of your car in the summer, you understand the concept of passive

solar heating. A wide variety of material absorbs sunlight and radiates the energy back into the air in the form of heat.

Passive solar heating for a home works the same way as the process which overheats your car in the parking lot.


I think it is fantastic how the stimulus funds are making a difference. They are being taken advantage of all the time with the installation of geothermal heat pumps to replace high energy heating and cooling systems.

Rod Haney

When thermocouples are connected in series they become what is called a thermopile. If made to a large scale a thermopile can produce a large amount of electricity, by converting heat, say from underground, to electricty. The Earths core temperature is estimated to be 6k to 8k degrees. A thermocouple is a huge part of Geothermal Electricity. -Rod Haney MN.

Gas thermocouple

Thermocouples are a widely used type of temperature sensor for measurement and control and can also be used to convert heat into electric power. Any junction of dissimilar metals will produce an electric potential related to temperature.Thermocouple is somewhat connected also to geothermal electricity.

Renewable Energy

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ground source heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available.

gas thermocouples

As I see it geo-thermal is a very good source of energy if we could harness it it could really bring a countries energy source problem into a halt not just by using those dangerous nuclear powered plants.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles