Geothermal Project in California Is abruptly abandoned

It caused earthquakes!

Geothermal Project in California Is Shut Down. By James Glanz. New York Times.

The person who emailed this story to me wrote, “Boy – If you’ve ever read a geothermal EA to destroy the nearest hot springs  – BLM never says anything about the earthquakes …”

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I have been skeptical of geothermal energy using hot springs and geothermal anomalies, which this seems to have been. No hot spring seems safe, nor even Yellowstone Park when there is a boomlet for geothermal power.





  1. kt Avatar

    Thank you for posting this Ralph. BLM – and the Renewables Rogues -are gearing up for massive geothermal development in NV – and parts of Idaho too.

    And I’ve always been suspicious of a process that takes water out, then after heating something for human use, often re-injects the water. The EAs always claim no worries there either. Water will go back where it was taken out.You betcha. Now after reading this – it seems clear that the exploration/drilling is opening up cracks/fissures and any water supposed to be re-injected may end up somewhere other than the original aquifer site it was in.

    Are they using bunker busters, or what? Divine Strake on steroids?

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Geothermal sites are usually on or near faults or active volcanic places.

    Injecting water into faults is a well known way of “greasing them,” so they slip.

    Geothermal power has great potential in the future, but I think the only active method that will prove safe is to use the natural heat gradient of the Earth. This is require technology to drill deep in stable locations (like perhaps Columbus, Ohio or New York City.

    Passive use of warm or hot water that flows out the springs is already used and can be expanded somewhat.

  3. kt Avatar

    The article on the failed Altarock geothermal project indicates a lot of tax dollars were sunk into it. Note: DOE.

    Check this out: “betting …”. A 2008 business article on AltaRock. Look at the investors. Includes Google and others.

    I just posted in the Open Thread discussion Taibbi’s mentioning the upcoming carbon bubble. Looks like this partially Government fueled one has burst – Prematurely.

    They even used the word betting. The question is: How much did the Investors make once the Gov’t cash was sunk into this? Maybe someone who understand this all could explain it to us non-business types.

    All in pursuit of more renewable energy DESTRUCTION of the earth, rather than conservation, and home-energy-independence based solutions. The Obama-Salazar “renewables” policy is a disaster in so many ways.

  4. TimothyB Avatar

    If I didn’t know what website I was reading, I’d say this one is a oil company website. “Pssst…let tell the world that all alternate energy is bad for the environment.”
    Solar? Check!
    Wind? Check!
    Geothermal? Check!
    Hydro and Nuclear? Done years ago – Double Check!

    Maybe we should start spreading the word on the dangers of bike riding and walking and we’ll be set for life or until the last coal field is exhausted.

  5. kt Avatar

    TimothyB: Well: The public lands renewables destroyers are the same as the Oil companies. They believe they should be given subsidies and a blank check to destroy wild places on public lands to export power to somewhere else.

  6. mikepost Avatar

    TimothyB: you are on the right track, the mere act of reading/posting on this blog is an act of energy consumption. We see very little here with regards to limiting demand, just opposition (sometimes very justified) to energy production schemes of almost every type with no recognition that without consumption reduction or caps there will always have to be some trade off against the environment. The fantasy of environmentally neutral energy production is just that.

  7. kt Avatar

    Mike Post and Timothy: Haven’t you read all that has been discussed here b/4 about limiting energy, the destructiveness and INEFFICIENCY of remote sited “renewables” strung together by several thousand miles of new transmission lines??? And different energy models rather than the same old Shell Goes All Wind Turbiny – and destroys a mountain range in the process?

    And anyone who is interested in Climate: Removing livestock from public lands in the West would benefit carbon sequestration, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce desertification that feeds into climate heating, etc.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I agree with kt.

    Overall we need to think about conserving and improving natural carbon sinks as well as non fossil fuel energy sources. I hope this idea sinks in. 😉
    – – – –
    Carbon dioxide sequestered is as important as carbon dioxide released. Hey, it’s called the Carbon Cycle.

  9. TimothyB Avatar

    Population of North America alone is expected to climb to 383 million people in the next 11 years or an increase of 30-50 million people. IMO we have to do something now. But if widespread use wind, solar and geothermal is an unacceptable energy source then the problem will take care of itself in ways that some, most or all will find unpleasant. I suspect the consequences of doing nothing will work equally well in cutting energy use.

  10. kt Avatar

    Timothy B: Quit trying to frame anyone who is not jumping on the Industrial Renewables Destroying Wild Places Everywhere a la Ken Salazar bandwagon as Doing Nothing. That is a buzz phrase of developers, native veg killers for the livestock industry, and general fearmongering.

    “The consequences of doing nothing”. Those are the exact words of the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition and USDI”s Great Basin Restoration Initiative – as they seek to destroy the native vegetation of the Great Basin and replace it with grass “cultivars” (cowchow). More resilient in the face of climate change – and all that nonsense.

    A day or two ago, I heard that exact wording by a promoter of run amok renewables in association with the Copenhagen meetings. I cringed. I have heard that phrase in association with promotion of other things various industries want, too “The Cost of Doing Nothing”. Used to promote various forms of land and water alteration.

    Really: No one – and not me – is suggesting we do nothing. There are many Alternatives to run amok industrial Renewables — or destroying wild places to make them more “resilient”.

    Just like the word “restoration” industry and agencies have twisted the concept of “resilience” these days. But back to the alternatives to Doin’ Nuthin’.

    The Alternatives deal with Actions related to conservation, de-centralized energy and small-scale home-based solar, wind, etc.

    And since you are worried about population: Respecting women’s reproductive rights – which usually translates into reducing the rate of population growth – is the best way forward there.

  11. kt Avatar

    AND I just had to post a link to this – for those who think drilling and dynamiting away down deep in the earth is a good thing …,%20CLIFFORD%20KRAUS&st=cse&scp=3

    I wonder if some of the couple of hundred chemicals used in Fracing are also used in the oh-so-benign Geothermal drilling?

  12. TimothyB Avatar

    kt…You think I have an agenda I guess. Sorry to burst that bubble. No agenda on my part and I don’t represent any organization, company or business. What’s your agenda kt?


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan