Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Geothermal - Geo What?

I read an article today on the TheStar.com about the silence surrounding geothermal heat as an alternative to natural gas in the Alberta oil sands.

The use of natural gas is a major source of contention to environmentalist as it requires a lot of energy to produce 1 barrel of gas from the oil sands and our green house gas emissions have been on the rise.

"Today, natural gas is burned to produce the hot steam that's needed to extract bitumen from the tar sands. Alberta's world-famous sands are already the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases in the country, and on the current growth path, emissions are expected to jump more than four-fold over the next 10 years."

An oil industry consortium is exploring the use of geothermal heating to replace natural gas.

"Replacing much of this natural gas with clean, emission-free heat under the Earth's crust, a completely feasible option according to a recent research report out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, would go an enormous way toward achieving a halt, and eventually a decline, in Canada's carbon emissions.

It gets better, the energy is consistent, clean and requires a small staff load.

"Not only is geothermal a baseload resource – meaning it can provide power or heat at a predictable level 24 hours a day – but it doesn't leave behind toxic nuclear waste or carry the risk of meltdown. It also doesn't come with the uncertainty associated with carbon storage and the long-term monitoring that's required to make sure CO{-2} doesn't leak out over time, or escape in a single suffocating burst.

Sounds great doesn't it? Well it has been three months but not a word out of anyone about this. Nothing, I read the original article three months ago and not even environmentalists have mentioned it. Right now the main push is for a nuclear power plant to replace natural gas. I know nuclear power plants are said to be very safe but there are always the nagging doubts....

"......nuclear power doesn't sit well with his riding, which has a large Ukrainian community. For many, memories of Chernobyl are still vivid and the idea of putting reactors in the oil sands raises a stiff eyebrow. "A lot of people get pretty antsy about that....."

For the Full Article Click Here