Today in Cleantech

We don’t hear that much about geothermal power in the renewable energy world (it’s just half a percent of electricity generation in the U.S.), mostly because its development far trails renewable energy market leaders hydroelectric, wind and solar. But Kenya of all places is stepping into the geothermal game big time with plans to develop 3000 megawatts of geothermal power, three times the largest solar project in the world, in the country’s Rift Valley. The government is seeking $750 million from the Group of 8 nations, and has already secured $124.5 million from the Africa Development Bank for the first 400 megawatts of the installation. Fans of geothermal love the almost zero greenhouse gas emissions, the relative abundance of the energy, and the fact that once drilled, the plants can last an extremely long time (one geothermal plant in Italy has been active since 1913). On the downside, drilling geothermal wells impacts the local ecology and sometimes requires hydraulic fracturing, which has raised concerns over groundwater contamination.  Though, hey, if we’re going to start fracking in a major way as we’re doing with natural gas, we might as well get an energy source that doesn’t emit CO2.