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Investing in the Future
Source: Fred Noyes of New Hampshire
Posted: October 25, 2004
Have you ever wondered...
Have you ever wondered how great it might be if some “Ben Franklin’ from out of the blue found a key to bottling the tremendous power of a lightning bolt so it could be funneled into our nation’s energy grid? Mightn’t it also serve humanity well if we could bridle hurricanes and tornados so the power those terrible storms hold could heat and cool our homes rather than destroy them? Dream on!
Unfortunately, at least to this writer’s knowledge, no such technologies exist but the way to harness an unimaginable amount of a free energy source does exist and has successfully provided clean power for a century, I’m speaking about geothermal energy. The first such harvesting venture took place in Lardello Italy in 1904. It operated without a hitch until World War 2 when Allied bombers destroyed it. When the war ended it was quickly rebuilt and is generating clean power today.
We have within our national park system an abundance of geothermal energy. It is an untapped, clean free energy source available in infinite supply. It lies bottled up in Mother Earth’s bosom. We should harvest this energy posthaste and once and for all put an end to our dependence on foreign oil, on air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, and on skyrocketing energy prices. Why haven’t we done so? Ask your congressman. Your representatives to that august body and their colleagues have ignored God’s gift of geothermal energy. The failure by congress to address this bright promise for America should be an embarrassment to them.
Those we have sent to Washington to serve our interests have ignored the gift of clean infinite energy that is vested in what is now our National Parks of the western states, in Alaska, the Aleutians and Hawaii.
Geologists report that the thermal energy in the uppermost six miles of the earth’s crust amounts to 50,000 times the energy of all the oil and gas resources in the world but this fact sparks no interest in congress.
In many areas of the world it is difficult to harvest thermal energy because of geological and geographical limitations. There are relatively few places on earth that have magma (hot, molten, rock) close enough to the surface, as America does, to create the conditions necessary for generating electricity in an economical way. America has been blessed because we have ample geothermal sources at our disposal where clean free-source energy can be produced safely and economically.
These locations are in regions where there are young volcanoes, crusted shifts, and recent mountain building, conditions which exist in the Cascades of our western states, in Alaska, the Aleutians, and Hawaii.
The world’s largest geothermal harvesting complex is The Geysers. It is located north of San Francisco. Situated on private land it supplies that city’s electricity. Yellowstone National park is the largest geothermal “hotspot” on earth. One noted combustion engineer believes that that famous site sits atop enough geothermal energy to supply most, if not all, of America’s energy needs for eons to come. Land at Yellowstone has risen about three feet over the past thirty years and geologists are watching it with a wary eye yet no effort has been made to relieve the pressure by harvesting the thermal energy that has caused it.
Geologists speculate that when it blows—and it will blow—as it has routinely done for the past two million years the blast will be a thousand times more powerful than Mt. St. Helens was when it violently erupted in 1980. It is unfortunate that those ‘hotspots” are on public land under the control of congress because unlike the management at The Geysers congress has taken a “torpedoes be damned” attitude against harvesting thermal energy from public lands. No measures are being taken to relieve the excessive heat being generated there.
When Mt. St. Helens in Washington erupted killing 57 people, it spewed volcanic ash across the entire continent. Now a cone is developing in the crater of that geothermal “hotspot”. It is venting ash and magma and steam and threatens to erupt again. Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is again showing signs of unrest and Mt. Rainier in Washington is a perennial volcanic threat. Geologists who are monitoring that volcano claim that 3,000,000 Washingtonians reside in the projected paths of lahars (torrential flows of mud, rocks and other debris) when, (not if) that mountain erupts.
The laws of thermal dynamics explain the transfer of heat energy. We routinely place furnaces or boilers in the basements of our homes to transfer thermal energy from the fuel of our choice to our living quarters. Automakers knew that a way was needed to wipe excessive heat from internal combustion engines so the vehicles we purchase come equipped with radiators. We experience the transfer of heat energy from the sun to our bodies every time we step from the shade into the sunshine and we practice the art of heat transfer when we boil an egg. Yet, although the harvest of geothermal heat has a hundred year history of providing clean, free-source energy, members of congress refuse to recognize that excessive heat being generated by radioactivity deep in the bowels of Planet Earth at major “hotspots” within our National Parks can solve our energy problem. It obviously can, and should be harvested for the energy America so desperately needs and to reduce the potential for these volcanic areas to erupt.
In 1970 congress enacted the Geothermal Steam Act, which prohibits the harvest of geothermal energy from virtually all public lands. Although our nation has been experiencing an energy crisis for decades now and the price of imported petroleum fuels is going through the roof no member of congress, including our senators, Sununu and Gregg, have stepped forth to serve the public interest to amend that law to allow for a reasonable harvest which would reduce our dependence on foreign oil; bring down the price of energy; and provide for a cleaner environment.
Make no doubt about it. We’ve got energy galore within our National Parks. Electricity to feed our country’s electric infrastructure can be safely generated from a free energy source and hydrogen to fuel our vehicles our homes and our industry can be produced from clean, geothermal energy. But, unless we shake up congress we may have to witness the bankruptcy of this nation’s economy before it happens because for reasons I’m not qualified to judge, congress refuses to deal with the ignorance of that law.
When you pull up to the gas pumps and watch the dollar signs spin out of control like a one armed bandit gone wild, make a mental note that there is something you can do about it. Contact your congressman by snail mail, by phone, or by email and demand that he explain why he and his learned colleagues are ignoring the obvious benefits of the geothermal energy bottled beneath our national park system. Ask that he give you a valid reason why Americans should pay such a needless penalty for their’ refusal to amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970. Insist that the law be changed to allow the harvest of that clean free-source energy we so sorely need.
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