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Posted Wed Oct 6 2010: from SMU, via EurekAlert:
SMU geothermal mapping project reveals large geothermal energy source in coal country
West Virginia is capable of producing 75 percent more energy from geothermal heat than currently produced by the state's mostly coal-fired power plants.... The SMU Geothermal Laboratory has increased its estimate of West Virginia's geothermal generation potential to 18,890 megawatts (assuming a conservative two percent thermal recovery rate). The new estimate represents a 75 percent increase over estimates in MIT's 2006 "The Future of Geothermal Energy" report and exceeds the state's total current generating capacity, primarily coal based, of 16,350 megawatts.... "By adding 1,455 new thermal data points from oil, gas, and water wells to our geologic model of West Virginia, we've discovered significantly more heat than previously thought," Blackwell said. "The existing oil and gas fields in West Virginia provide a geological guide that could help reduce uncertainties associated with geothermal exploration and also present an opportunity for co-producing geothermal electricity from hot waste fluids generated by existing oil and gas wells." The high temperature zones beneath West Virginia revealed by the new mapping are concentrated in the eastern portion of the state (Figure 1). Starting at depths of 4.5 km (greater than 15,000 feet), temperatures reach over 150C (300F), which is hot enough for commercial geothermal power production.
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'Doc Michael says:
It's just so much easier to simply turn the valleys and mountains of West Virginia into a plain.

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