Feeds

Greens wage war on clean low-carbon renewable energy

Geothermal: what the frack is wrong with that?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The most promising renewable energy of all is making pro-renewable Greens frightened and angry. It’s geothermal energy, which taps into the natural warmth below Earth's surface, providing an abundant heat source.

Geothermal exploitation used to be about finding and retrieving hot water – but new technology allows water to be sent into deep fissures several thousand feet down, where it meets hot dry rock, and comes out piping hot.

The problem? New geothermal techniques requires hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and environmental crusaders have convinced themselves that fracking is evil. Thanks to misleading propaganda such as the movie Gasland, campaigners fear contamination of the water table and apocalyptic earthquakes. (For some Greens, the world is a disaster movie set to loop.)

Yet the water contamination so dramatically illustrated in Gasland, with domestic water taps jetting out fire, preceded fracking by decades: it’s caused by methane much nearer the surface. The risk of small quakes, undetectable by humans, from fracking is similar to the risk posed by coal mining. And the chemical lubricants used in the process, while similar to antifreeze, are well regulated and are being superseded by organic alternatives.

But environmentalists are scoring some victories. A fascinating feature from the Greenwire news service captures the frustration.

"No matter how much information you give people, if their minds are made up, their minds are made up," says an official at the Bureau of Land Management, which conducted the studies.

This is because the most successful political movement of the past few decades, environmentalism, has relied so heavily on apocalypse: on the suspension of rational risk assessments, and the stimulation of wild, runaway fantasies. The equivalent of running into a room screaming: "We're all going to die! So do as I say." As a political technique it has been very effective, but it leaves proponents in something of a cul de sac.

Greenwire notes that the potential of geothermal energy in the USA is stupendous. Using today’s technology, geothermal plants in North America would have a power capacity of three terawatts – three times the nation’s current electricity production capacity. Skewed by an almost religious attachment to expensive and inefficient wind farms, Britain’s own geothermal investment are, so far, pretty puny.

But it’s hard to see where else those environmentalists who are against hydrocarbons and nuclear energy can turn for low-carbon energy. Unless power cuts really are the goal. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.