As described in a previous post, Sausalito-based AltaRock Energy is drilling a Lake County test well aimed at producing energy by utilizing a technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). AltaRock’s project is on federal land leased by the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) on a ridge just above the community of Anderson Springs, CA. According to an article published July 15 in the Lake County News, however, “concerns about the technology AltaRock is using has caused the Bureau of Land Management [BLM] and the Department of Energy [DOE] to decide to conduct further study before the work moves forward.”
In light of the earthquake activity caused by a similar EGS project in Basel, Switzerland in 2006, the question to be studied is: might EGS engender serious earthquakes here in California?
Continue reading “Enhanced Geothermal Energy and Man-Made Earthquakes (Part 2)”
Drill down just a few miles into the earth’s crust, and the temperature will rise substantially. This heat comes from three sources: emissions from radioactive minerals, the compressive force of gravity, and to a lesser extent, solar energy absorbed at the earth’s surface. Although such energy is not truly renewable (radioactive elements do eventually decay to energy-flat states), within any reasonable estimate of mankind’s tenancy on this planet, geothermal power is essentially limitless.
There are several techniques for transducing this energy from underground heat to in-the-grid electricity. One of these, a technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), is currently being tested by Sausalito-based AltaRock Energy only 12 beeline miles from my home in Northern California. Continue reading “Enhanced Geothermal Energy and Man-Made Earthquakes”