For the climate problem above our heads, part of the answer is below our feet. Increasing attention has been aimed at geothermal energy as an abundant and clean energy source, but the federal budget is deaf to all the commotion.
And we really do mean commotion. On March 1 there will be a briefing on Capitol Hill to review geothermal energy and its potential. One featured speaker will be the chair of a recent MIT report on geothermal energy, which concluded “that mining the huge amounts of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth’s hard rock crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact.” Other speakers includethe head of the Geothermal Energy Association (which also released a recent study), the owner of a geothermal project in Alaska, and the former DOE Geothermal Program Director.
In spite of the enormous potential of geothermal energy, the Bush administration has proposed zeroing out the geothermal energy program for two years running.
Outside the White House, geothermal energy is enjoying a popularity surge (evident everywhere from Capitol Hill, demonstrated above, to the New York Times and even the blogosphere). A piece of Grist commentary underscores that with what it costs to build one clean coal-fired plant, you could invest in 15 years of geothermal energy.
Although plumper budgets would pay off, we mostly need something like an Extreme Home Makeover to rearrange the use of our money and our world’s heat.