Saturday, October 31, 2009

Montana - Geothermal energy state?

Geothermal energy projects, as well as the renewable energy projects in general, are lately getting lot more attention that they used to do, and many areas across the U.S. want to fully utilize their natural advantages by developing different renewable energy projects to not only satisfy ever-growing energy demand but also to work on ecologically acceptable fuels, especially now when climate change problem looks to be so big. One of these projects is geothermal energy project in Montana, to be more precise in Lake County, and if all goes well Montana will soon become one of the leading state in total U.S. geothermal energy sector.

Montana looks to be starting this project as soon as possible by using its natural advantages in form of hot springs to give enough power to homes around the lake county. Montana's based company Flathead Electric Co-Op is now working on a project that plans to use hot water from the ground to produce geothermal energy, and satisfy demands of many households in this territory.

This geothermal energy project could be a first of its kind in Montana and is only being made possible after Flathead Electric was granted almost half a million ($491,000) in federal funds to test the groundwater of hot springs in Lake County to see whether it was hot enough to be used as geothermal energy source.

This company plans to plan to drill about 2,000 feet into shallow wells to see if the water is hot enough to produce energy, and if it turns out to be positive we could soon see room being made for large geothermal energy project. Many energy experts believe that geothermal energy potential of this are is definitely worth to be fully explored as hot springs are usually great sources of geothermal energy.

If everything goes well this could be giant step for Montana to be looked like geothermal energy state. Currently when people think geothermal energy they usually think of states like Nevada, Oregon and California, and with little luck Montana could soon use geothermal energy as the viable and dependable energy source.

If all goes as planned, the geothermal energy project in Montana could begin with preliminary drilling as early as in spring 2010. It will be really interesting to see what drilling results will show in the end.

Most geothermal power plants in U.S. are located in the west, and currently geothermal energy is third largest renewable energy sector in the United States, behind hydroelectricity and biomass. Some studies have even reported that nine western states together have the geothermal potential to provide over 20 percent of national electricity needs, one of them being Montana too.

Monrtana Geothermal Energy Sites. Source and details: US Department of Environmental Quality.

Many of people also do not know that exploiting geothermal energy in United States isn't something new but something that almost have 50 years long history as first geothermal energy power plant was opened at The Geysers in California in 1960, and perhaps a bit surprisingly it still continues to operate successfully, despite being almost 50 years old.

This is really an evidence that geothermal energy is really dependable energy source that could provide lots of energy to homes across the western U.S. Currently there are 3,040.27 MW of installed geothermal capacity but energy experts this number to b lot bigger in years to come as many other projects like this one in Montana are already underway with lot more to come in years ahead.

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