Energy policy — geothermal: Chaffee County geothermal update

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Here’s an update on the geothermal picture in Chaffee County, from Ron Sering writing for Colorado Central Magazine. It’s a long piece so click through and read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

New technology makes it possible to generate power with water at a temperature below 400 degrees. These plants pump the water to the surface, where it passes through a heat exchanger containing a binary fluid that boils at a lower temperature than water. This in turn produces the steam that drives the generators…

The extent of Chaffee County’s geothermal resources was measured by Amax Exploration in the 1970s. The effort ceased with the return of cheap petroleum in the 80s, and because the technology of the time required natural steam to generate power, rather than the hot water found in Colorado. Subsequent research in the area around Mt. Princeton by the Colorado School of Mines indicate favorable potential for geothermal development using binary technology. “It is an area of exceptional heat flow,” [Matt Sares, Deputy Director of the Colorado Geological Survey] said.

More geothermal coverage here and here. Disclaimer: I write a water column for the print edition of Colorado Central.

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