'Gold Rush' for Geothermal

Warren Buffett, Google and others are investing heavily in geothermal energy development, spurred on by state incentives for renewables and higher gas prices.
November 7, 2008, 8am PST | rbregoff
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"Reporting from Reno -- Not far from the blinking casinos of this gambler's paradise lies what could be called the Biggest Little Power Plant in the World.

Tucked into a few dusty acres across from a shopping mall, it uses steam heat from deep within the Earth's crust to generate electricity. Known as geothermal, the energy is clean, reliable and so abundant that this facility produces more than enough electricity to power every home in Reno, population 221,000.

"There's no smoke. Very little noise," said Paul Thomsen, director of policy and business management for Ormat Technologies Inc., which owns the operation. "People don't even know it's here."

Geothermal energy may be the most prolific renewable fuel source that most people have never heard of. Although the supply is virtually limitless, the massive upfront costs required to extract it have long rendered geothermal a novelty. But that's changing fast as this old-line industry buzzes with activity after decades of stagnation."

Thanks to rob bregoff

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Published on Monday, November 3, 2008 in The Los Angeles Times
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