Geothermal offers low greenhouse gas emission baseload power alternative

Geothermal power plant emissions come from existing geothermal resource gases rather than from their power generation process, a new report says.

The report, by the Geothermal Energy Association, comes as California prepares to put in place a greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program. An n average geothermal power plant emits about 5 percent of the carbon dioxide, 1percent of the sulfur dioxide, and less than 1 percent of the nitrous oxide emitted by a coal-fired plant of equal size.

Geothermal is the largest producer of renewable power in California but so far only a small producer in Idaho. However, Boise heats many buildings using geothermally heated water.

U.S. Geothermal Inc. has a plant in Raft River Idaho and has constructed a new power plant at Neal Hot Springs in eastern Oregon, 90 miles northwest of Boise.

The geothermal industry expects its industry to grow significantly in California with a cap and trade program in place. As prices increase for coal and natural gas under the program, clean energy alternatives such as geothermal will offer a more affordable energy option.

The same will happen if and when such a program is approved nationally or its alternative, a carbon tax is put in place. Geothermal offers baseload power as a counterpart to intermittent technologies such as wind and solar.

Rocky reports

On another press release. Whatever they are paying you to write this drivel Rocky, be thankful.

"Geothermal power plant emissions come from existing geothermal resource gases rather than from their power generation process, a new report says."

Duh.

"...under my plan of a cap and trade system...

electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket..." BHO, Jan 2008.

Wrongo Rocko

The Rocks writes, "An n average geothermal power plant emits about 5 percent of the carbon dioxide,..."

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Ignore the lazy typos and The Rock is still his normal Wrongo Rocko.

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There are three types of geothermal power plants: 1)dry steam 2) flash and 3) binary.

The Raft River and Neal Hot Springs are binary power plants. These are likely the most important to Idaho readers.

Binary power plants do NOT emit these GHS.

Binary geothermal power plants have not been used in California, in the past. However, 70% of Nevada's geothermal power plants do use the binary system.

Think of a binary system as a closed-loop. There are no, or minimal, emissions- since the water is injected back into the ground.

So the average CALIFORNIA geothermal power plants (which is what the press release is about) may emit these the GHS, but Idaho's, Nevada's and the FUTURE of geothermal power plants do NOT emit such gases.

This is not rocket science.
A few minutes on the Internet and an inclination to get the real story instead of barfing on someone else's press release can actually create a decent story for Idaho readers.

Original text of the press release

"California is a hot-bed for geothermal energy, and the new report from GEA notes that geothermal plant emissions are substantially lower than those of traditional fossil-fuel plants. In fact, geothermal power plant emissions in general arise primarily from existing geothermal resource gases rather than from the actual power generation process. This information is critical when considering how to minimize the GHG emissions of the energy sector. According to the report an average geothermal power plant emits about 5% of the carbon dioxide, 1% of the sulfur dioxide, and less than 1% of the nitrous oxide emitted by a coal-fired plant of equal size."

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UPDATE: There are "some" binary systems in California.

Paywall still doesn't work.

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Nothing happened and what if it did?

Only if it's not carbonated, by the way.

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Nothing happened and what if it did?