Utah bursting with geothermal energy potentialOctober 3, 2012
US continues to look for adequate replacement for fossil-fuels, and geothermal energy may be the answer
As the U.S. begins to slowly but surely break away from fossil-fuels, the country is eager to find a new, reliable form of energy that can take its place. The federal government has adopted an “all of the above” energy plan that has it pursuing various forms of power, clean or otherwise. Geothermal energy is among the government’s interests, and it has been gaining more attention recently. The Utah Geological Survey has found that the state holds vast potential in terms of geothermal energy, which may be enough to solidify the federal government’s support.
Researchers find significant potential in Black Rock Desert basin
According to the Utah Geological Survey, Utah’s Black Rock Desert is a suitable site to tap the hundreds of megawatts worth of geothermal energy discovered in the state. A team of researchers found several differences in the temperatures of rocks beneath the desert basin. In some parts of the desert, these temperatures reached 500 degrees Fahrenheit at 13,000 feet below the surface. Researchers believe that the fluctuations in temperature found in the desert make it an ideal home for a new kind of geothermal energy system.
Geothermal energy system could produce electricity without consuming water
The Utah Geological Survey has proposed a geothermal energy system that makes use of water in a similar manner seen in other geothermal systems. When the water is heated due to its exposure to high temperatures, it is funneled back into a reservoir to cool down. This simple and straightforward practice means that the geothermal energy system would consume no water. The Black Rock Desert is also a favorable site for this system because of its proximity to California, where much of the electricity generated by the system would be sent.
Similar conditions could be common in the West
Though Utah has been found to be a hotbed for geothermal energy, the terrain in which this potential was discovered exists all over the world. Researchers believe that geothermal energy systems established in these locations could have profound implications for clean energy. In the Western U.S., these terrains seem to be common, thus opening up the possibility of the country making more use of geothermal energy.