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Power Science

Alaska Looks To Volcanos For Geothermal Energy 230

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-stamp-so-hard dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "Alaskan state officials have recently announced their intention to begin funding the exploration and surveying of Alaska's largest volcanoes in hopes of utilizing these as a source of geothermal energy. They say this volcano could provide enough energy to power thousands of households, and according to some estimates, Alaska's volcanoes and hot springs could supply up to 25% of the state's energy needs."
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Alaska Looks To Volcanos For Geothermal Energy

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  • by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous&yahoo,com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:05AM (#24380275) Homepage Journal
    While very neat, if we did tap geothermal resources nationwide to get up to supplying 25% of our electrical needs within a few decades, we'd still be behind Iceland. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], Iceland generates 26.5 of its electricity from geothermal power. Strange to think that a place called Iceland has so much available heat for power generation.

    Going a bit astray, has anyone seen the episode of Science Channel's "Eco-Tech" featuring the rooftop windmills [youtube.com] designed by Aerotecture [aerotecture.com]? Pretty cool.
    • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:17AM (#24380369)

      if we did tap geothermal resources nationwide to get up to supplying 25% of our electrical needs within a few decades

      I'm of the opinion that the human race will eventually get close to 90% of its energy needs from geothermal sources. Wind and solar probably can't deliver the wattage. What people don't realize and what they don't want to believe, is that the world is not filled up with oil in the middle. Instead, its filled with molten rock, and beyond that, molten metals. And there is a lot of it in there. All you need to do is invest in shunting sea water a few miles into the earth and harvesting the energy as it boils out. Other than the initial investment, it wouldn't take coal or oil--both of which WILL run out.

      • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:07AM (#24380723) Journal
        The CSIRO in Australia has been investigating the practicality of producing electricity from granite deposits [ga.gov.au] since the early nineties. Also since the nineties the same organisation has been saying that Australia could produce all it's power and then some from either solar or wind.

        The problem for the last 11yrs in this country has been purely political as we stood stubbornly by the US. Because of this misdirected loyalty our power generation remains 90+% derived from coal and we have seen many innovations payed for by taxpayers sold off to private companies in the EU and elsewhere.

        Now that our breadbasket (the Murry-Darling basin) is regularly producing half of what it did just a couple of decades ago people are starting to pay attention.
        • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:16PM (#24387065) Homepage Journal

          "The problem for the last 11yrs in this country has been purely political as we stood stubbornly by the US. Because of this misdirected loyalty our power generation remains 90+% derived from coal and we have seen many innovations payed for by taxpayers sold off to private companies in the EU and elsewhere. "
          Wow and just how is the US to blame for this?
          The US told you to not build solar, or wind? Or even nuclear reactors?
          Or did you keep to coal because it was cheap and you have a crap load of it. Not to mention that Australia makes a bunch of money selling it to China?
          Please take some responsibility for your own actions. Lots of other countries are allies of the US like Germany and Japan and they both have invested heavily in to none carbon based power systems.
          Just silly this whole "Devil made me do it" mentality take some responsibility.

      • Scary, isn't it? Unless we carefully condense the steam even geothermal energy doesn't solve global warming. And at present, we don't.

        me <- geothermal fan

        But we have to be aware of the consequences of everything. We can breed our way out of the benefits of geothermal energy in under a century even if we condense the steam.

        • by MrKaos (858439)

          Scary, isn't it? Unless we carefully condense the steam even geothermal energy doesn't solve global warming. And at present, we don't.

          Perhaps we could whack a turbine on it, condense most of the steam and convert some of that energy into electricity. We would have to beware of the consequences of geo-solidification freezing molten magma under the crust and reducing the gravity of the earth.

          Reducing the earth's spin would be bad, people would get taller though, so it can't all be that bad.

          • > geo-solidification freezing molten magma under the crust and reducing the ***gravity*** of the earth.
            ???

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by MrKaos (858439)

              > geo-solidification freezing molten magma under the crust and reducing the ***gravity*** of the earth.

              ???

              winks and flicks to next excuse card.

          • Wouldn't spinning down the earth make us all feel heavier?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by peragrin (659227)

            actually I would use two or even three turbines. Geothermal generally use a closed loop water system.

            two turbines on for high pressure steam, one for low pressure steam. A third turbine like those built in damns for water. The water heading back down to the geothermal source by gravity could generate additional power.

        • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @07:27AM (#24382685) Journal
          "Scary, isn't it? Unless we carefully condense the steam even geothermal energy doesn't solve global warming. And at present, we don't."

          Sorry but you have been misinformed (probably by those who are not geothermal fans). There is no need to condense the steam, yes it's true that H20 is a powerfull GHG but that is only part of the strory. The atmosphere is already more or less saturated with H20 (eg: dew drops form in desrerts every night and evaporate in the heat of the day), adding more H20 won't affect the temprature because it simply falls out somewhere else as rain/dew.

          In other words the total amount H20 in the atmosphere stays relatively constant regardless of how much steam we pump into it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dbIII (701233)
        In some places we are lucky enough that there is water already in cracks in the hot rock. Now while geothermal electricity generation of a sort has been used since the 1890s there are the two problems of drilling very deep holes and the amout of capital required to build any sort of large thermal plant. It's hard to convince people to pay for something that won't pay for itself for a decade even if it is going to last a century - even worse when it's going to take more than five years to build.

        I can't res

      • by jd (1658) <imipak@yahoo.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:58AM (#24381079) Homepage Journal

        Geothermal power is nice, but does have its limits. There are reports suggesting that heavy use of geothermal power can increase the frequency of mini earth tremors, which is probably not good. Also, you are not generally tapping the earth's core (which has plenty of heat) but some local magma reservoir (which has rather less) or a channel through which magma flows (which is not much of a reservoir at all, and could in principle be blocked, which may explain said earlier reports).

        In the long term, fusion power is the best solution, but the technology necessary to achieve fusion is taking a painfully long time. I still favour rounding up the fusion scientists, locking them in a building in Alaska with as much money as they can possibly need, and slowly turning down the heat until they quit with the politicking and bitching about whose method is "better" and get something that works.

        In the short term, fusion isn't going to happen nearly fast enough to handle the present or any future oil crisis. Geothermal power can. As others have mentioned, other countries use it extensively, such as Iceland and New Zealand. Alaska could probably benefit from it, and the Pacific Northwest is riddled with volcanoes and magma reservoirs. The Pacific Northwest is also a major energy user, making it an ideal place to have major generators.

      • Everybody knows that fossil fuels will run out. Bringing other energy sources into the game was a matter of price, not ideology. Past tense used due to current oil prices.
      • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @03:45AM (#24381629)

        "solar probably can't deliver the wattage".

        Yeah, right, it's not like the sun would deliver 168 PW to the Earth at any given time, while mankind "only" uses 500EJ a year.
        500EJ/168 PW ~= 50 minutes worth of solar radiation would be enough to power whole mankind for a year.

        Geothermal sources can really be interesting, but you need to find good ones, and still dig a few kilometers if you want to get high-quality heat and produce electricity. You don't need to dig an inch to collect solar radiation.

      • about 70 kPa (atmospheric pressure) times 120 km/h (wind speed) times 500 km radius... That's the power coming out of an pretty typical hurricane. I'd imagine 'eating' one hurricane with wind power wound do a pretty good job of powering a lot of homes.

      • On wind and solar (Score:3, Informative)

        by DesScorp (410532)

        " Wind and solar probably can't deliver the wattage"

        More important than that, what power they can and always will supply will be inconsistent. Wind isn't constant, and everyone has cloudy days. A day with no wind means no power if you're relying on windmills. And during storms, you can overload the grid. Recently in Oregon, a wind farm nearly blew the local power grid when storms pushed wind speeds so high that the windmills suddenly pushed more power into the system than it could handle. Wind and solar wil

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        solar probably can't deliver the wattage.

        Have you even seen an outdoor concert with a massive lighting array that can't compete with the sun?

        There is definitely plenty of power to be gotten from solar. The problem has been that solar panels are 15-18% efficient, and those that do not follow the sun lose 1/3 to oblique sun angles.

        However solar thermal generators that follow the sun with parabolic mirrors can produce upwards of 60% efficiency, which means the power requirements of the typical power-frugal home can be provided by a rooftop generator

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ex-MislTech (557759)

        Wind and solar probably can't deliver the wattage.

        searching Wikipedia renders that incorrect:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy#Energy_from_the_Sun [wikipedia.org]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Available_Energy-3.png [wikipedia.org]

        A "tiny" portion of the Sahara desert could power the earth
        completely in all forms in use at present, transport and otherwise.

        The SEGs system at 1.5 square miles is 350 MegaWatts.

        The Sahara is 3.5 million square miles.

        Total average power usage worldwide is 15 Terawatts.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wo [wikipedia.org]

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      I would be a bit surprised if Alaska can make much of geothermal energy. The reason that I feel this way is that cities can benefit but smaller towns can not stand the expense of geothermal power. I could be wrong but I thought Alaska was a bit shy on cities and rather big on small towns and rural life. Also are the cities that they do have close to good geothermal sources?

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:26AM (#24380889) Homepage
        Win! Yep, that's what's odd about this push by the Alaskan government. The closest volcano to Anchorage (the only real city in Alaska, sorry Fairbanks but it's true) is about 100 km. Now, you can certainly run transmission lines over 100 km, but this isn't your normal, everyday terrain. It's deep water, big mountains and moose.

        Even if you succeeded in running Anchorage off geothermal, what the hell are you going to do for the rest of the state? At best, this is a ploy to get more resources into the Mat-Su valley [wikipedia.org] which isn't all that bad, but I don't see this as a big starter for most of the state or, more generally, for down South (ie, everywhere else). Powerlines to Seattle would cost an awful lot of money.

        • by jacquesm (154384)

          can't be too hard to run a power line over some moose. The deep water and big mountains are more of a problem.

        • Well, you could run the lines alongside one of the major roads, the pipeline or the Railroad.

          All were specifically designed to avoid areas of permafrost, and don't seem to have moose problems.

          Heck. You could kill two birds with one stone, and electrify the railroad while you're at it.

    • by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @02:26AM (#24381241)
      Uhmm, you do realize that Iceland is a teenie, tiny little dot of an island in the northern ocean do you? The actual amount of energy produced from geothermal sources in Iceland is verrry small and about equal to a single fair sized coal fired (or nuclear) power station.
      • by Petrushka (815171)

        Uhmm, you do realize that Iceland is a teenie, tiny little dot of an island

        Er ... an island that is considerably larger than Ireland, or Pennsylvania, or Hungary, or more than twice as large as New York state, is a "teenie, tiny little dot"? I think you need to recalibrate your sense of perspective. I mean, sure the Atlantic is big, but there's quite a lot of grades between "fucking humongous" and "teenie tiny".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shadow349 (1034412)

          Er ... an island that is considerably larger than Ireland, or Pennsylvania, or Hungary, or more than twice as large as New York state, is a "teenie, tiny little dot"?

          Step away from Google Maps. Instead, do a search on "Mercator" to see why you are an idiot. If that is too much to ask: New York = 54,555 sq mi Pennsylvania = 46,055 sq mi Iceland = 39,770 sq mi Hungary = 35,919 sq mi Ireland = 32,591 sq mi (All data from Wikipedia)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by resignator (670173)

      While very neat, if we did tap geothermal resources nationwide to get up to supplying 25% of our electrical needs within a few decades, we'd still be behind Iceland. According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], Iceland generates 26.5 of its electricity from geothermal power. Strange to think that a place called Iceland has so much available heat for power generation. Going a bit astray, has anyone seen the episode of Science Channel's "Eco-Tech" featuring the rooftop windmills [youtube.com] designed by Aerotecture [aerotecture.com]? Pretty cool.

      26% of Iceland's electrical needs is a tiny number compared to 25% of America's needs. Saying we would still be behind Iceland seems inappropriate if you take into consideration the modest 300k population of Iceland probably consumes less electricity than Baton Rouge, LA.

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @04:46AM (#24381935)
      Strange to think that a place called Iceland has so much available heat for power generation.

      Legend has it that the name of Iceland is an ancient Viking fraud. Erik the Red sailed out into the ocean beyond Scotland, and discovered two new countries there: one rich and green and worth settling, and one frozen and barren and utterly worthless. He named one Iceland, and the other Greenland; when he got home, all the other Vikings rushed off to claim lands in Greenland, and Erik got to keep Iceland for himself.

      • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:06AM (#24383429)
        After posting this, I fired up Wikipedia and read up on the actual history.

        Iceland had already been settled by Erik's time - he didn't discover it. He was exiled from Iceland because of some killings with which he was closely associated, and he sailed away to the northwest, where the existence of land was rumoured but unconfirmed. It's true that he gave it the name of 'Greenland' for marketing purposes, hoping to encourage settlement there, but during the Mediaeval Warm Period Greenland wasn't quite as inhospitable as it is today, so we cannot fairly accuse Erik the Red of fraud. Only murder. But he was a Viking, so that's to be expected.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by daBass (56811)

      Iceland generates 26.5 of its electricity from geothermal power.

      And of course 73.4% is from hydro power, and only 0.1% from fossil fuels. (probably generators at very remote locations?)

      So the only fuel they import is to power vehicles!

      Now if only they could find a way to export electricity, they would be loaded beyond belief.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kenh (9056)

      Greenland used to be green, and Iceland used to be covered in Ice, but then the automobile and the carbon credit were invented, and the environment (which had never changed previously) suddenly reversed itself, and now their names are but mocking jokes to man's care taking of the planet.

    • by Smidge204 (605297)

      The US is already "ahead" of Iceland in terms of raw power produced by Geothermal - about 15 billion kilowatt hours per year, compared to Iceland's roughly 4 billion.

      Don't forget that Iceland has 1/1000th the population of the US, and is small/compact enough to make things like district heating practical and efficient. 1% of a billion is more than 100% of a million.
      =Smidge=

    • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:23AM (#24383675) Homepage
      The key to generating useful power is the temperature difference between the heat source and what you're cooling with. As the climate gets colder, the source of heat doesn't have to be as hot to get economically useful amounts of power. See, for example, here [popularmechanics.com]: "A binary system just requires a heat source and sink: 165 F water can produce electricity if the ambient air or surface water temperature is at least 100 degrees lower. While that may be tough to find in the deserts of Nevada, in Alaska cold air and water are abundant resources."

      Same applies to Iceland, of course.

  • I have been suggesting that for Colorado for several years saying that we could own the market. And when I mentioned that here, I was told not a chance since the volcano's are so far south. If they were smart, they would create an x-prize for alaskan companies that build the equipment. This way they end up creating not just cheap electricity, but also multiple manufacturing companies.
    • Yellowstone (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Telepathetic Man (237975) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:25AM (#24380429)

      Speaking of the lower 48's volcanoes. What about Yellowstone? A super-volcano close enough to the surface that the pressure is bending the crust up. Now there is a prime target for investment. Perhaps we can even vent off enough pressure to reduce the risk of another one of those major blasts that it's known for geologically.

      • Yellowstone is funny (Score:3, Informative)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Some major right-wing relgious group did in fact install a geo-thermal. But it was shut down. They chose to use direct steam, which potentially would drain the water that feeds old faithful. But I think that a binary system would make sense. That way, the heat is used, not the water.

        Yeah, I have wondered the same thing. It seems that if you lower the temps, it might make it better. Of course, it could make it worse. But hey, do research during the time that we are taking the heat.
        • by Serenissima (1210562) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:58AM (#24380665)
          Well, actually, if you drill a big hole in the ground, you could pipe water down an enclosed pipe. Then the steam would come up another pipe to power generator turbines. When it cools back down to water, you send it back down to heat up again.

          After your initial water investment, you wouldn't really need a significant amount of additional water at all if it was a closed system. I believe that's the general principal in most Geothermal usage wells.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by WindBourne (631190)
            Allow that to heat a different carrier,and you have a binary system. That approach is used in Chena Alaska. It allows for lower temps to work. But to be honest, I have been wondering about Johnson's system [johnsonems.com]. Seems like that would do a better job since it bypasses large mechanical systems.
          • by rbanffy (584143)

            "you could pipe water down an enclosed pipe."

            Better. You could pump sea water down and get back water vapor (and saltier water you could pump back to the sea).

            But that would mean a whole lot of piping involved.

            Any volcanoes near California?

      • by rbanffy (584143)

        And that's cheap energy that comes with the added benefit that if you drain enough energy out of Yellowstone, you may even prevent it from doing its every-n-million-year super-eruptions that trigger those super-extinctions.

        Sadly, if you drained enough energy to do that you would end up with an environmental problem all by itself unless you find a clever way to radiate all that extra heat to space.

  • Volunteers? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:50AM (#24380623) Homepage Journal

    So, how many virgins per minute does it require to keep going?

    • by n dot l (1099033) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:26AM (#24380883)

      So, how many virgins per minute does it require to keep going?

      This is Slashdot. Your question is making people...uncomfortable.

      • by SEWilco (27983)

        So, how many virgins per minute does it require to keep going?

        This is Slashdot. Your question is making people...uncomfortable.

        Yeah, we haven't figured out how many virgins go into a Library of Congress.

      • by g0dsp33d (849253)

        So, how many virgins per minute does it require to keep going?

        Soylent fuel is Slashdot!

    • So, how many virgins per minute does it require to keep going?

      That would depend on the exchange rate for Orange Crush.

  • Geyserville, CA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cathector (972646) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:03AM (#24380691)

    i was surprised to read that The Geysers, just north of San Francisco, claims to be "the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world" [geysers.com]. i guess "largest" is open to interpretation. But here's another startling claim: "The Geysers satisfies nearly 60 percent of the average electricity demand in the North Coast region from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border".

    who knew ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      That single setup produces about 5 times more geothermal energy than the much touted Iceland...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mspohr (589790)
        In 2005, 5.0% of Californiaâ(TM)s electric energy generation came from geothermal power plants. This amounted to a net-total of 14,379 GWh. In 2005, California's geothermal capacity exceeded that of every country in the world. California currently has 2492.1 MW of installed capacity, with more under development. http://www.geo-energy.org/information/plantsNow/ca/CA.asp [geo-energy.org]
    • by MrKaos (858439)

      The Geysers satisfies nearly 60 percent of the average

      Lucky old geyser!

  • by yorkshiredale (1148021) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:06AM (#24380719)
    Anyone else noticed that Iceland is quite a green and verdant place, while Greenland is a large lump of ice?
    • by cathector (972646) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:12AM (#24380767)

      not sure i would say "quite" green and verdant. "occasionally", sure. joke i learned from some icelanders: "What should you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest? ... Stand up."

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ya really (1257084)
        I think the Vikings/Erik the Red named it that to try to con people into living there after realizing Iceland wasn't such a great name for people seeking warmer temperatures or a better place to live than Scandinavia. It wasn't like you could just log onto the web or visit a travel agent back then to check the regional climate of Greenland, heh heh.
    • by shawb (16347)
      The story that I recall is the names were basically P.R. Early explorers/settlers in Greenland wanted more people there, while those in Iceland wanted it for themselves. More likely is that they were named when they were discovered, likely at different times of the year or even under different climate conditions.
  • by Bondolon (1000444)
    They've been ignoring geothermal for years, and it's good that they're finally getting into it. There's so little feasible habitable space that it could make a great effect on Alaska. However, they also have the benefit of wide-open plains that, for the most part, won't be adversely affected by more modern solar methods. Alaska is essentially a geo/solar power source that remains fundamentally untapped, and really has a ton of potential.
    • However, they also have the benefit of wide-open plains that, for the most part, won't be adversely affected by more modern solar methods.

      I'm no scientist, but won't the extreme angle of the sun during the summer and the lack of sun during winter adversely impact their solar production?

  • That's my plan. We currently have too much goverment 'wealth distribution' Each state should use its own resources. If a state has a surplus, let it sell it. If there's not enough resources to support the population the population needs to spread to more appropriate places. I hear Montana is nice this time of year. States like California have a disproportunate (sp) amount of the countries resources. All border states are moving in this direction due to illegal immigration. (BTW, I believe we have the r

  • So, I read the article, and I thought about commenting on little nuances and details, or about crafting some kind of painfully witty reply that would goad mods into giving me karma points, but I read the article and the most eloquent response I can come up with is "it's about fucking time".

  • Works in Hawaii... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @02:47AM (#24381319)

    The "Big Island" of Hawaii has a geothermal plant rated at something like 25-35 megawatts, which is a meaningful fraction (though not 25%, maybe more like 10%) of demand. More geothermal could be exploited, but there are issues of land ownership (lots of the volcanic stuff is federal land) as well as cultural, religious and environmental sensitivity.

  • The problem with geothermal energy is that you need to drill hundreds of holes and then you end up with enormous quantities of toxic, heavy metal polluted water run-off. Drilling for oil requires orders of magnitude fewer holes and results in less water pollution.
    • heheheh (Score:5, Informative)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @03:07AM (#24381419) Journal
      That argument is the same one as saying that wind generators wipe out the birds or that CFL have mercury in them.
      Yes, SOME wind generators have killed birds (esp one in CA). But over all have not. More important, these are MUCH better on birds than the pollution being put out by coal plants.
      The same issue with the mercury in CFL. The CFL has a small amount of Mercury, but FAR FAR less than what is put out by a CLEAN coal plant using a regular bulb.

      The geo-thermal requires anywhere from 1 to a 100 holes. But there are plenty of dried wells in places like Colorado that make a great low-temp place (esp, since many wells were already drilled close). Secondly, oil pulls up the exact same sediments. In fact worse, because most are drilling FAR deeper these days. But by using a closed system, esp. with binaries, the pollution on the land and in the air is gone. So that leaves just that below. And since the way of the hole is piping, you really do not interfere with the local water table (barring a shallow heat reservoir). As to the multiple holes, that is also a none issue. Slant drilling works wonders. A single pad with 5 holes will do the trick. Even the EPA says it is one of the cleanest form of energy.
  • Great News (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @02:52AM (#24381345) Journal
    The oil industry will need a cheap form of electricity to extract all that expensive oil. Awesome.
  • tongonan geothermal field, in leyte, in the philippines (not my page) [wordpress.com]. i have a friend of a relative who works there as a nurse so i was able to tag along as a civilian, which isn't easy because of the heavy security there

    its basically just these huge turbines sitting over a bunch of steam gushing from the earth. its a pretty surreal place because its raining all the time (all that steam). its deep in the jungle and it is a major powerplant for the philippines, so it has all these checkpoints and guys with submachine guns (npa rebels are around). and the geothermal activity means all of the streams you pass are a brilliant cobal blue from mineral run off. it feels like the headquarters for a james bond villain, very doctor no

    anyway, about those mineral laden streams stirred up from geothermal exploitation: cadmium, manganese, chromium... not too environmentally friendly, no? you have some of the same environmental issues as you would with any mining via chemical leaching in terms of poisoning the environment

    in other words, pick an energy source, any energy source, and it has an environmental downside: wind kills birds, tidal energy increases silting, biofuels inflate food prices for the poor, solar panel fabrication pollutes, etc. such that, when you see all of the upsides and downsides, you realize the choice of energy source is not between evil and polluting and clean and carefree, but choosing between different levels of environmental unfriendliness

    given that realization, the best energy source in the world is obviously nuclear (with breeder reactors, to make the byproducts far less worrisome)

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