Image: Energy Information Administration
Just when we thought there were no more new fandangled ways of deriving energy from our shriveling planet, Australia comes up trumps. Scientists there believe untapped geothermal energy locked in three miles below the Earth’s surface is a worthwhile and completely sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels.
It’s estimated that only one percent of Australia’s geothermal energy, which is often referred to as ‘hot rocks’, could produce up to 26,000 years worth of clean electricity.
Geoscience Australia, a government organization, used 5,722 existing petroleum and mineral boreholes across the country to map potential geothermal areas. Hot rocks need to be 150 degrees Celsius to produce electricity, which is achievable at a depth of one to five kms, noting, not surprisingly, that the temperature rose deeper into the earth’s crust. Once pinpointed, water is pumped far below ground where it becomes heated naturally; the heat produced in turn generates power.
Currently, Australia’s reliance on coal for generating electricity makes it the world’s biggest per person polluter, producing five times more carbon emissions per head than China. Australia is aiming to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels for energy production from 77 percent to 20 percent by the year 2020, so have been investigating viable alternative renewable energy sources.
Australia’s Resource Minister, Martin Ferguson said: “Geothermal energy provides clean base-load power and is potentially a very important contributor to Australia’s energy mix in a carbon-constrained world.”
We’ll even throw in a free album.