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National to Local: Taking Energy Independence to the Next Step

May 4, 2012

Much of the conversation around energy independence concerns energy at a national level: effectively harnessing the United States’ own natural resources as an alternative to foreign oil.

But just as the local food movement has demonstrated the economic and ecological advantages of sourcing meals close to home, local power has great potential to make “energy independence” a local movement as well.

This is a point of great interest for Dr. Gillian Foulger, Professor of Geophysics at Durham University. Dr. Foulger is assisting AltaRock with research at the demonstration site, and we’ll be sharing more about her work later this spring. She shared her thoughts on the potential of local energy independence:

“If we can overcome the many technological challenges, through demonstration projects such as this one, EGS can become a significant contributor to the nation’s energy budget.

Importantly, because geothermal heat is everywhere beneath our feet, EGS projects can potentially be distributed throughout the nation, and need not be concentrated in restricted regions of resource-bearing formations, e.g., oil and gas reservoirs.

EGS could thus empower local communities, counties and states, by offering the possibility of generating and managing locally, the power that the community needs.”

Robust renewable energy at the state and local levels could empower communities by adding jobs, incentivizing the protection natural resources, and possibly leading to development beyond the energy sector. Businesses start up and expand in areas that support their needs, which increasingly include eco-friendly infrastructure (for example, many believe that Facebook and Apple’s recent moves to Prineville, OR, have to do with proximity of renewable energy options).

EGS could be the perfect marriage of energy independence and the recent revival of all things local. The demonstration aims to show the technological and economic viability of this technology, which we hope will eventually empower communities nationwide to locally generate and manage the power they need.

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