Google-Funded Project Explores Major Geothermal Resource In West Virginia

West Virginia has recently discovered, though a project funded by Google, that it is lying on top of a major resource: geothermal power. The finding is even more significant taking in consideration the state’s high dependence on fossil fuels.

Google invested $481,500 for the study led by the Southern Methodist University. According to the research, the state has a huge geothermal potential. If only 2 percent could be collected, the system would deliver 18,890 MW of green energy.

The figures show a lot more potential than originally estimated, as the new study was carried out taking in consideration more details and more data points. 1,455 new thermal data points were found besides existing ones, most of them in the eastern part of the state.

Although its geothermal potential was ignored for not being a tectonically active zone, it has now become the state with most geothermal sites from the US. Currently, Western Virginia has a power generating capacity of 16,350MW, but only 3 % of that capacity is provided by renewable energy.

Google, which uses great amounts of energy for its huge data centers, has invested $10 million for the research of renewable energy sources that are cheaper than traditional ones.

[via BusinessGreen]

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