Guest essay by Eric Worrall
For a long time Geothermal energy has been an expensive joke, even for people who claim solar and wind power is viable. History is littered with Geothermal projects which failed to live up to their early promise, such as the Tim Flannery inspired Cooper Basin project, which obliterated at least $90 million in government grant money before the project was abandoned.
But there are some hints that COP25 might include an attempt to breath new government money into this failed renewable energy technology.
From Chile, posted in April this year;
Chile and the role of Geothermal – preparing for the COP25 climate talks
Alexander Richter 30 Apr 2019
Diego Morata, Director of the Center of Excellence in Geothermal Energy of the Andes of Chile (CEGA), highlights the potential role of geothermal in the goal of cleaning the energy matrix of fossil fuels and the opportunity presented in the COP 25 climate talks to be hosted in Santiago de Chile, December 2-13, 2019.
In December 2019, Chile will be hosting the COP25 climate talks in Santiago. This provides a unique opportunity for the country and the geothermal sector to highlight the role it could play in the future energy mix of Chile.
Diego Morata, Director of the Center of Excellence in Geothermal Energy of the Andes of Chile, presents an interesting analysis about the role of geothermal in the goal of cleaning the energy matrix of fossil fuels Chile and the opportunity presented in the Convention United Nations Framework on Climate Change No. 25, which will be held in Santiago de Chile from December 2 to 13, 2019 (see the government communication in this link)
We share a copy of what was raised by Diego Morata in a column published in the newspaper El Mostrador, and was published by our sister publication, PiensaGeotermia.
“There is a big difference between stopping a change and curbing a disaster. The first can afford long solution times, the second requires decisive actions. During the last session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), the most powerful and mediatic statement warned us of the urgency: “You only talk about going ahead with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess , even when the only sensible thing they can do is put on the emergency brake “, the speech came from a teenage activist, the Swedish Greta Thumberg, and her photos and words are the memories that last the most today, not only because of the novelty of the interlocutor, but because their declarations shine an awkward truth: that the authorities still do not manage to take concrete agreements to reduce the increase of the temperature of the planet. What can Chile contribute to this scenario full of wilful declarations and little action now that we will host the next COP in December?
During the next COP 25 we will be the focus of global attention on climate change. What are we going to tell Greta? It is postulated that an increase of 2ºC in the temperature of the planet could bring serious consequences (irreversible?) For humanity. Climate change is a scientifically proven reality, the temperature of the Earth has been increasing progressively, and a large part of the scientific community accepts that we have entered the Anthropocene, a new geological time where the effect of man in Earth’s climate These are the times in which Greta will grow up, who reminds us that “you say that you love your children, but they are robbing you of your future”.
Given this pessimistic scenario, Chile has good news to contribute. Our country has been recognized internationally as an example in the promotion and development of renewable energies, the development of solar energy positions it as the third national energy source. We must applaud this fact and continue on that path, deeper, deeper, underground. As well as the Sun, we are fortunate to have another inexhaustible renewable energy under our feet, geothermal energy, which would allow us to free our matrix of fossil fuels. We have already demonstrated as a country that geothermal electricity can be generated. ”Source: statement sent via email by Diego Morata for publication via PiensaGeotermia – the Spanish language platform of ThinkGeoEnergy
The allure of Geothermal energy is a promise of relief from the fatal intermittency which plagues wind and solar. All it would take is a magical breakthrough to make geothermal economically viable – and a claimed breakthrough has miraculously appeared, just in time for COP25.
Tech Breakthrough Could Spark A Geothermal Energy Boom
PUBLISHER Oilprice.com PUBLISHED NOV 20, 2019 8:39AM EST
Geothermal energy is often billed as one of “the cleanest energy sources” –and with good reason. It’s carbon-free, renewable, and efficient. Even those stoic anti-hyperbolists over at the United States Department of Energy sing its praises, saying, “this vital, clean energy resource supplies renewable power around the clock and emits little or no greenhouse gases — all while requiring a small environmental footprint to develop.”
While geothermal is one of the superheroes of clean energy production, however, it still has a lot of room for improvement. First and foremost, it needs to be massively scaled up in order to have any real environmental impact or significant market share compared to where it stands now, a speck in the giant shadow of fossil fuels. What’s more, there are significant barriers and high costs to the initial phases of exploration and infrastructure.
Luckily, there has recently been an important breakthrough in the field of geothermal energy exploration and finding those geothermal hotspots (so to speak) thanks to a team of research scientists from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, based in Potsdam. The scientists’ findings, published this month in a Scientific Reports journal article titled “Geothermal sweetspots identified in a volcanic lake integrating bathymetry and fluid chemistry,” have solved the issue of finding underwater drilling sites by identifying a method that allows the mapping of submerged geological structures in order to determine inflow information essential for developing geothermal energy production.
…Read more: https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/tech-breakthrough-could-spark-a-geothermal-energy-boom-2019-11-20
If entrepreneurs and their backers want to defy the odds, take risks, and reap rewards if their investments pay off, I don’t think any of us have a problem with that.
But if I am right, I have a funny feeling the COP25 organizers will be seeking lots of government support for their revolutionary idea. Green energy projects all seem to require large infusions of government money, not because they are economically unviable of course, but it is critically important to get things moving quickly because of the urgency of our global climate crisis.
And if some of the projects don’t work out, well who cares about money? The future of the world is in the balance!