President of Iceland gives geothermal perspective
REYKJAVIK, Iceland—In an hour and a half discussion with journalists, President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland, outlined how Iceland is trying to attract entrepreneurs with ideas in how to use geothermal energy and electricity generated from geothermal energy. At the same time, he proudly pointed out that Iceland is exporting its expertise in geothermal energy to the rest of the world.
In a separate meeting with a private industry official, the concept of quality cropland or marginal land being used for ethanol production, including cellulosic, was condemned as counter to regulations that Europe is instigating to reduce greenhouse gases and the switchover to environmentally friendly biofuels. This was one message during a stop at Carbon Recycling International by the group of nine journalists from North America and Europe.
The worst blizzard in about 10 years hit Reykjavik on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop the Invest in Iceland tour guides from having a full agenda for the journalists. The four North American journalists interested in agricultural topics heard about methanol production, geothermal greenhouse operations and Iceland’s leadership in geothermal energy.
The highlight of the day for the entire group of journalists was visiting with the president of Iceland at his residence. President Grimsson pointed to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study analysis that the U.S. has much more potential for generating geothermal energy within the renewable fuels category. The president explained how the MIT report on the geothermal potential of the United States, which includes deep well drilling, not just the shallow well drilling that has been the center of geothermal energy production so far, has much more potential for the future of the U.S.
“The conclusion of that MIT report was that the geothermal potential of the U.S. (in generating geothermal energy) is so big that it could provide twice the energy consumption of the U.S. today…The same is the story in many, many other places,” the president said.
His comment was basically contrary to my report of March 5 that referenced shallow well drilling as not being economically feasible for a huge amount of geothermal energy generation in the U.S. That statement appears to hold true, but other methods of extraction of geothermal energy are being developed. The total geothermal energy MIT report takes into account the deep wells technology still being developed, geothermal shallow wells and small-pipe wells to supplement the heating of individual houses.
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