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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: Part 3

This is my third posting on geothermal energy in about a week, and my final one for a long time to come.  My first renewable energy job was in biomass engineering with the sugar industry.  You would think something so natural and useful such as sugar would be a desirable market product.  Tomorrow I'll report on what is looming as a next crisis.  More and more, sugar is being identified as dangerous to your health, and a variety of taxes is being developed to dissuade you from consuming sucrose, glucose and fructose, especially the latter, VERY SIMILAR TO TOBACCO.

But today, I delve into my second renewable energy job, as one of the reservoir engineers for the Hawaii Geothermal Project way back in the mid-1970's.  That was the first flashing of our well to the right, where our bottomhole temperature was 675 F, the hottest in the U.S.  More specifically, I this morning saw in the latest issue of Renewable Energy World an excellent graphic on capacity factors, showing which energy sources are more dependable with respect to availability:


Click on the above if you can't quite read it.  Of course, nuclear and coal are online most of the time, and they all are in the range of 85%.  One of the comments, however, said:

Brian Donovan is correct. For example, the "capacity factor" for a nuclear power plant is shown as in the range of 90%. However, the decommissioning period for a nuclear power plant (e.g., San Onofre, CA) may take three decades at a cost of billions. So the plant operates at 90 percent capacity for part of its lifetime, and zero actual output for the next part. Because the decommissioning costs are most likely to be paid by electricity ratepayers or other taxpayers, thirty years or so of payments are being made for a plant that is not generating a single watt of power.

On the lower end of production down from 20% to 40% are wind and solar energies.  Geothermal power, however, is available from 85% to 95% of time.  This baseload capability makes geothermal especially valuable when policy decisions are made to determine the future mix of renewable options.

This was an extraordinary day on world stock markets today, for the USA, UK, Germany and Sweden all reached their highest levels ever!  In addition, Japan attained a number not seen since 2000 and France, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands exceeded their 2008 peaks before the financial crisis.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared almost 100 to close at 18,209.   

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