Volcanoes To Be Harnessed For Power

Alaskan volcanoes will be harnessed to power thousands of homes. State officials are set to auction off the exploration rights for Mount Spurr, a 3.4 kilometer-tall stratovolcano in the Aleutian Volcanic Arc of Alaska.

(Mount Spurr - volcano power source)

Geothermal energy is back on the table in a number of US states, thanks to the high price of oil.

"High prices and climate change are definitely creating a renaissance in geothermal interest, particularly on a state and local level," said Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association. "If we really want to go all out for it, we could easily achieve a substantial amount, 20, 25 per cent of US energy needs within a few decades. We're limited more by public policy than the resource - the resource is enormous."

Crater Peak, one of the two main vents for the Mount Spurr volcano, has erupted twice in the past century. In 2004, the Alaskan Volcano Observatory issued an eruption warning, despite the volcano's status as "Concern Code Green" - a peacefully slumbering giant.

SF fans may recall the episode Inferno from Stargate Atlantis, in which a civilization is built within the caldera (eruption crater) of an enormous volcano. The Ancients used the geothermal energy of the volcano to power their city. However, the entire civilization is endangered by the fact that the volcano is heating up, apparently foreshadowing an eruption.

(Generating power from a volcano in Stargate)

Geothermal power takes many forms, not just in volcanoes. Experts state that at least a dozen US states have a variety of opportunities to take advantage of safe geothermal power.

From Alaska Opts for Underground Energy and GateWorld; thanks to Moira for the tip and references.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/31/2008)

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