The alternative energy community is abuzz today with news that Google will invest $10.3 million in geothermal companies that develop "enhanced geothermal systems," which circulate water through permeable hot rock underground to produce electricity in a turbine. That may require fracturing the rock. [right, geothermal areas of the western U.S. Credit BLM]
Much of the geothermal potential of Arizona is thought to be in this kind of system, rather than the hot springs systems that are more typical of Nevada, Utah, and California.
The company's philanthropic arm, Google.org, will invest $6.25 million in AltaRock Energy Inc. and $4 million in Potter Drilling Inc., to support development of technologies to reduce the cost of geothermal power. Google.org will get 1% of Google stock and 1% of its annual profits to fund its activities.
The company also will give $500,000 to the geothermal lab at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.