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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Google Investing Over $10 Million in Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy has finally hit the big time., the philanthropic arm of Google, announced today that it is investing $10.25 million in an energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). The funding will also go towards geothermal resource mapping, information tools, and a geothermal energy policy agenda.

And it looks like Google made a wise investment choice. According to an MIT report on EGS, only 2% of the heat beneath the continental US between 3 and 10 kilometers (depths we can reach with current technology) is more than 2,500 the annual energy use of the United States.

While traditional geothermal energy relies on finding natural pockets of hot water and steam, EGS fractures the hot rock, circulates water in its system, and uses the steam created from the process to create electricity in a turbine.

The investments will go towards three institutions: AltaRock Energy, Potter Drilling, and the Southern Methodist University Geothermal Lab.

Google’s funding may just be the push we need to really get geothermal off the ground, once again proving that government funding and initiatives can’t do everything. Substantial change can only come when private investors and corporations decide to help out—whatever their motives may be.

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