Letter: State needs to cash in on its geothermal energy possibilities

Ormat Technologies, Inc. secured geothermal rights in 2008 to explore Mount Spurr geothermal energy for $3.3 million. Since then, they drilled only one deep-core test well in 2011 far away from any geothermal vents. Naturally, they failed to find enough heat. We know that a huge amount of heat exists in the magma there. So, this has been quite a poor performance by Ormat to date. We should ask our representatives, senators and governor to encourage more diligent development of our resources under lease. 

Alaska should hold much more extensive geothermal lease sales covering the entire Magma Corridor from mounts Spurr to Redoubt to Iliamna to Augustine to the active fumarole field of Kukak Volcano, so more corporations may compete to develop geothermal power for the Railbelt Kodiak and westward. If we fail to work hard, now to develop low-cost, clean energy that will never run out, then we shall experience certain disaster, when our oil becomes too heavy and expensive to pump profitably.

Happy New Year.

— Daniel N. Russell, physicist