Friday, September 17, 2010

Graphic Of Engineered Geothermal Energy Projects And India Update

The Economist on Engineered Geothermal Projects...

with a nice graphic...

Here is a graphic summarizing geothermal energy potential from India

 Source: Geothermal Energy Resources and its Potential in India

Gap along the Himalayan axis where high heat flow is associated with granitic intrusives is because the geothermal potential of Nepal is not shown. Within peninsular India all the high heat flow regimes fall along either old Precambrian weak zones which have been reactivated during late Paleozoic -Mesozoic rifting events or coincide with the evolution of the western margin of India during Mesozoic rifting from Africa /Madagascar / Seychelles. This rifting resulted in lithosphere stretching and thinning and hot mantle upwelling.

The focus in India has been on conventional geothermal energy exploration in the vicinity of volcanoes, geysers and hot springs where high heat flow occurs at shallow depths of a few hundred meters. These projects use naturally occurring steam and hot water to generate electricity. The estimate is that these shallow heat flow sites could potentially generate up to 10,300 MW of electricity. Engineered geothermal systems (EGS) projects in which water is circulated along drilled pathways to great depths to heat it up can be located in areas of relatively low heat flow. EGS have not yet been explored in any detail in India. These projects are more expensive but because they don't have to be located near unusually high heat regimes the aggregate energy potential may be even bigger than what is estimated for conventional projects.

Everything right now is still in the "estimates and potential" stage. Not much energy if any at all is being produced from any of these sites. So far at least the government has been neglecting this clean energy resource. We lack the right policies to make both conventional and engineered geothermal energy economically viable.

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