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Challenging the Validity of Renewable Energy

June 20, 2011

Recently, the Bend Bulletin published a guest column written by Redmond, OR, resident Fred Allehoff. Mr. Allehoff expressed skepticism with a number of green technologies based on questions of their logistical and financial feasibility.

Many of Mr. Allehoff’s points are instructive, and those working in the renewable energy field are well aware of the challenges that alternative energy sources present. These challenges are not, however, inherent to the technologies themselves, but are rather symptoms of the relative youth of these systems when compared to ages-old reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy is changing rapidly as engineers work to overcome these challenges and deliver increasingly competitive systems.

Hope in Geothermal

Of geothermal energy, the writer has notably few critiques, stating:

“Geothermal is cost-effective and feasible if tests preclude the possibility of resulting minor earthquakes.” (Both the cost-effectiveness and potential seismicity of EGS have been previously addressed on this blog.)

Across the broad field of renewable energy, EGS is particularly well-poised to overcome the challenges Allehoff raises. Unlike new wind and solar technologies, EGS offers a way to harness far more energy from the earth—without requiring substantial changes to our existing power grid.

EGS simply allows us to tap the earth’s heat more efficiently than before, to generate more power from what we already know is a clean, reliable, domestic source of energy. And given its logistical and economic advantages, EGS may well be the renewable energy source that most immediately—and most dramatically—alters the way we acquire energy in the United States and the world.

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