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Published on October 13th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

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Google Hits Geothermal Jackpot in West Virginia

October 13th, 2010 by  


Along with the great news that Google is investing a ton of money in an offshore wind energy superhighway, other recent Google energy news is that a Google-funded project has discovered enough geothermal potential under a rather infamous coal state — West Virginia — to more than double the state’s electricity generation capacity.

Google gave the Southern Methodist University a $481,500 grant to look into this issue and the research findings were huge.

78% more geothermal energy is under the state than was previously expected.

The implications are rather clear: West Virginia could kick its dirty coal and mountaintop removal habit and start tapping into geothermal. This would be a benefit for the state economically and environmentally, meaning a better quality of life for its residents.

It could also help the country become more energy secure.

“The presence of a large, baseload, carbon neutral and sustainable energy resource in West Virginia could make an important contribution to enhancing the US energy security and for decreasing CO2 emissions,” the report concluded.

West Virginia currently has an electricity generating capacity of 16,350 MW (~97% of that coming from coal power), but the report concluded that if only 2% of the state’s geothermal energy were recovered, it could produce up to 18,890 MW of capacity from clean energy.

At this point, Google, becoming more and more of an energy leader, has invested $10 million into advanced geothermal energy systems. I am loving this company.

(Note: of course, given the politics in West Virginia, I wonder what it will take to get the state to tap into this clean energy source… see video below of Democratic Senate nominee and current Governor Joe Manchin & read the commentary in the link above in case you don’t catch the ridiculousness of this video.)

via Business Green

Related Stories:
1) “Cascading” Geothermal Energy Could Revive Small Towns with New Green Jobs
2) Department of Energy Digs Up More Green Jobs with $20 Million for New Geothermal Projects

Photo Credit: buttersweet via flickr


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



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