For the past few decades, scientists and private organizations alike, have been trying to crack open the answer for issues like climate change and dwindling fossil fuels for a better future. There are an array of solar panels and colossal windmills that span across the great boundaries made available to us, racking up the energy from sun and wind. Our confidence in these two sources of energy has been constantly proliferating with some people addressing them as the successors to fossil fuels.
But in the most recent past, researchers have started to experiment with more subtle ways to harvest energy from the natural resources, and the most potent of them is geothermal energy carved out from volcanoes. Scientists around the world have been trying to figure out the way to channelize the huge energy stored within volcanos into a renewable source of energy.
One such supervolcano, the Yellowstone, that breathes right before our eyes is located in the Yellowstone National Park. There are almost 10,000 scolding hot springs with steaming vents dotting the beguiling landscape – all fuelled by this simmering beast.
While researchers agree that the supermassive volcano will remain dormant and is not likely to erupt anytime soon. If that happens, the result would have a catastrophic impact. The springs of sulphuric bubbles shaping beneath the surface, are the evidence of fierce magmatic activity. This enormous amount of magmatic activity lurking beneath also gives us the opportunity to harvest the raw geothermal energy for the amelioration of the human race.
In 2017, NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory suggested a series of experiments, wherein they would drill a number of wells on the peripherals, and pump cold water onto the hot rocks. Later scientists proclaimed that such a scenario would help the Yellowstone magma to cool down.
Additionally, the system would be the biggest source of power on the planet, as it will help extract five gigawatts of electricity. Connoisseurs in this field agree that the supervolcano hosts enough geothermal energy to power an entire country.
However, the idea for harnessing the geothermal power has reached at a stagnant phase lately. Yellowstone and other national parks have long been shielded from commercial development so that they don’t hinder the unblemished ways of nature. The Geothermal Act 1970 prohibits the placement of any geothermal power plant in the vicinity of the national parks.
While the experts agree with the Geothermal Act 1970, reactions to NASA’s thought experiments highlight a positive response that could help us power more homes without using the traditional methods. Albeit some drawbacks, it still holds an enormous potential to provide us with a better future.
Costs included in the production of the geothermal energy
The costs for geothermal energy generation is approximately 4.5 to 7 cents per kwh. Though the cost evens out with energy generated by fossil fuels, one should also take into account the reduction of pollutants in the atmosphere. Also, the cost depends on the quality of a resource, financing transmission, ownership arrangements, and the size of the project undertaken.
According to several reports, all the major countries around the world, including the small ones like Kenya, are moving away from the conventional sources and have taken a huge paradigm shift towards the sustainable forms of energy for a greener and brighter future.