Is geothermal energy the next big thing?

After wind energy, solar cells, and biofuels, will geothermal energy take off?

It could be the New, New Thing.

It is not without problems; individual sites can become depleted if used excessively.

But all renewable energy sources have their drawbacks. Wind generators, for example, use lots of cement, steel, and space, have lots of moving parts, are noisy, kill birds, and only work when the wind is blowing. But they are still seen as benign.

On Iceland, an investment fund, Geysir Green Energy, was recently established with an initial $100 million investment for the purposes of investing in geothermal energy. Given Iceland’s experience in this field, this can been seen as an initial step towards commercializing Icelandic experience and technology worldwide, e.g. that of the company Enex.

Other companies in this field,

Calpine Corporation

Ormat Technologies

Update: A comment on Muck and Mystery,

It isn’t clear if the technologies will be adopted with enthusiasm since money often flows to projects that are subsidized whether they make any sense or not without subsidies. Geothermal makes sense, but may not capture political minds and hearts. I think it will eventually come into its own, but perhaps not soon.

See Heat Mining for some discussion of recent work on enhanced geothermal systems (EGS).

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