Geothermal energy advocates are celebrating a dramatically improved estimate of the technology’s capacity. Ironically, fracking technology applied to geothermal energy has the potential to literally tap the potential of geological heating and cooling.
“Advancing enhanced geothermal techniques alone could produce 45 gigawatts of electricity by 2050.” – Ars Technica
It isn’t just industrial scale systems.
“The report estimates that installations could increase 14 times over, to 28 million homes by 2050, covering 23 percent of national residential demand.” – Ars Technica
Geothermal isn’t as visible as other renewable energy sources like windmills, solar farms, or dammed lakes. A relatively small above-ground footprint can cover a large underground facility. Home units aren’t much more intrusive than other home heating and cooling appliances. The major advantage of geothermal is continual operation, something not available with solar, wind, or hydro. The major disadvantage is cost and relatively immature technology. Reaching almost a quarter of the nation’s demand is possible, but it will take decades to build the infrastructure. But, that’s a case of when, not if.