Conservatives, keep an open mind: Ronald Reagan would stop financing America’s enemies. Therefore, Reagan would encourage widespread adoption of active geothermal energy. Reagan believed in big ideas. And he believed in innovation, creativity, and American’s endless ability to invent our way around our problems.
What if the USA, Canada, and other industrial powers could tell the Jihadists in the Middle East to go pound sand? What if the U.S. and Canadian economies could thrive on almost limitless energy with no pollution? What if the U.S. were not dependent upon any other country? What if our foreign policy and military spending could ignore oil-rich but dysfunctional societies?
What is active geothermal energy—at least the modern version?
Almost all electricity is generated by:
Whether the fuel source is coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear, the process is the same: Steam is generated from water. The steam expands, creating pressure. The pressure turns a generator. The only other mechanisms for creating electricity are wind, solar, and hydroelectric.
Geothermal energy can use super-heated steam from the Earth’s interior to drive a turbine and generate electricity. See how a modern geothermal energy facility works, in this video below:
Water boils into steam at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But the temperature of the Earth’s core is 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit (recently revised). That’s as hot as the surface of the sun. There are “hot spots” where temperatures just a few miles beneath the surface reach 750 degrees Fahrenheit.
But now, we can access this limitless heat source because of modern breakthroughs in oil drilling technology. Oil drillers can now drill a well 40,000 feet into the Earth. That’s 7 ½ miles! This allows water to be injected deep into the Earth, inside a sealed tube, where the water is super-heated into steam. This high-pressure steam then pushes itself to the surface and turns a turbine. The water can be returned again and again through this cycle, leaving the chemistry unchanged below. In many geologic formations, the water is already down there, which can be released as steam, and then returned after cooling.
Note that we need to clearly define this concept. This is “active geothermal,” not “passive geothermal.” This is a radical change. Hot water bubbles up to the surface on its own in some places, notably Iceland. But with this new development, humanity doesn’t just wait. We can drill thousands of wells, pro-actively, and tap this limitless resource.
According to estimates Goodcommonsense.net/17degeen.html by one geothermal analyst, if just 2% of America’s potential “Deep Geothermal Energy” resources were developed, the total amount of power produced across the U.S. would be 2,800 times greater than America’s projected national electricity consumption for the year 2006. Research at Southern Methodist University’s Department of Geological Sciences and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin CEED facility estimated that the Earth’s total available geothermal energy mass is 50,000 times greater than the world’s current total consumption of fossil fuels.
Of course much of humanity lives in unacceptable poverty. There is room to improve their lives as well, above current levels of energy consumption.
Geothermal plants can generate electricity for the next 5 billion years in a way that is absolutely clean, limitless, relatively cheap. Eventually, this will happen. Even nuclear power will run out of fuel in only a few hundred years. In other words, we have to do this anyway.
There will be no pollution. None. Imagine a world with absolutely no pollution in generating most of our energy.
What would you see on the landscape? The wells would be underground. The well heads could also be hidden and buried beneath an Earth berm (dirt).
But what about fuel for cars, trucks, etc.? Well now hydrogen fuel cells start to make some sense. Electricity from geothermal can generate hydrogen gas. Hydrogen is not a fuel source, because there is no available supply of free hydrogen on Earth. But hydrogen can be a store of energy, transferring energy from a central source where hydrogen is created to a car or a truck where hydrogen is consumed. Remember that the Apollo moon mission spacecraft ran on hydrogen fuel cell technology. It works.
Would we disturb the water balance underground? No. A heat exchanger can extract the heat from the super-heated water, and return the exact same water back down to the underground strata as before.
Will we cool down the Earth’s interior? No. It is beyond this article to fully explain. But one must grasp the truly gigantic size of the Earth. Heat is generated partly from uranium deep in the Earth, partly by the intense pressure fueled by gravity. Since the Earth’s mass is slowly increasing due to meteors continually falling from space, Earth’s gravity-powered heat won’t run out before the sun dies and kills us all in 5 billion years.
A 2006 report from an interdisciplinary panel led by the Massachusetts of Technology on geothermal observed: “Although geothermal energy has provided commercial base-load electricity around the world for more than a century, it is often ignored in national projections of evolving U.S. energy supply. This could be a result of the widespread perception that the total geothermal resource is often associated with identified high-grade, hydrothermal systems that are too few and too limited in their distribution in the United States to make a long-term, major impact at a national level. This perception has led to undervaluing the long-term potential of geothermal energy”
There are no hurdles to overcome, no new development needed (besides researching good locations to drill). Because no new techniques or technologies are needed, there is no possibility of these techniques becoming stalled.
“All of the above” has been the official energy strategy of nearly every political candidate for more than a decade. “Drill, baby, drill!” Today, Reagan would probably be out there at an oil well wearing a lumberjack shirt and cowboy boots, watching some wildcatters strike oil. Reagan would have charmed the oilmen with his gosh-darn smile into letting Reagan swing some lengths of pipe into place and drill a few hundred feet himself.
But Reagan played quarterback in football. One way or another quarterbacks move the ball down the field. Quarterbacks don’t whine. They play the field that they have in front of them. Reagan was ready to change his game plans in an instant if his planned receiver was blocked.
The West’s strategic challenge is this: How long do we want to continue financing our enemies who use our money to try to kill us? Our countries will be damaged during the time we are fighting with crazy liberals. Of course liberals are wrong. Of course we’re right. But what good does it do if we lose our country while we are stuck in a stalemate? Even if we eventually win the energy debate with environmentalists of the nutty variety, but we lose our nation in the process, what have we won?
Jonathon Moseley is a Virginia business and criminal defense attorney. Moseley is also a co-host with the ?Conservative Commandos? radio show, and an active member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party. He studied Physics at Hampshire College, Finance at the University of Florida and law at George Mason University in Virginia. Moseley promoted Reagan?s policies at High Frontier and the Center for Peace in Freedom. He worked at the U.S. Department of Education, including at the Center for Choice in Education.
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