My comment below as left at Volokh's (but do read the whole post including comments.)
I know that some of the commenters here may be interested in facts; others clearly prefer wallowing in schadenfreude. (Btw that is not snark but fact.) Based on the lack of comment from Mr. Adler, I am not sure in which camp he pitches his tent. For the former, reality-based readers, I offer:
"In Iceland, there are five major geothermal power plants which produce about 24% (2008) of the country's electricity. In addition, geothermal heating meets the heating and hot water requirements for around 87% of the nation's buildings."
I believe that at least one of Iceland's geothermal providers is capitalist:
As a resident of Seattle, and having lived with a public utility for the past 40 years, I can say that some public organizations work just fine. Ownership type does not determine economic efficiency nor wishful-thinking (on either side) determine the feasibility of an energy source.But clearly, and in big bold letters, GEOTHERMAL CAN WORK. I have been to the power plant. I was warmed by the heat and bathed in the hot water. The 'trick' is to figure out why, where, how it works and then go copy.
UPDATE after reading the NYT article:
The underlying post at Volokh's is based on unfair, (even unethical?), cherry-picking of quotes designed to further, I assume, a certain outcome. Anyone who reads farther down the article in NYT will learn that
"In fact, AltaRock immediately ran into snags with its drilling, repeatedly snapping off bits in shallow formations called caprock. The project’s safety was also under review at the Energy Department after federal officials said the company had not been entirely forthcoming about the earthquakes produced in Basel in making the case for the Geysers project."Maybe some of the problem with Alta Rock's might have something to do with the technique of "fracturing the bedrock then circulating water through the cracks?" Or maybe the drillers were not experienced?
"The results of that review have not yet been announced, but the type of geothermal energy explored in Basel and at the Geysers requires fracturing the bedrock then circulating water through the cracks to produce steam.the type of geothermal energy explored in Basel and at the Geysers requires fracturing the bedrock then circulating water through the cracks to produce steam. By its nature, fracturing creates earthquakes, though most of them are small." (italics added)
I have no idea but it seems a bit irresponsible and premature to form any ideas about geothermal, much less dismiss it, based on this article.I have no idea but it seems a bit unhelpful and premature to form any ideas about geothermal, much less dismiss it, based on this NYT article.