Iceland, the powerhouse of the world?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by ULTRA, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    You are confusing cost of laying the cable with transmission costs.

    While related they aren't necessarily the same thing.

    Note that "much of the cost" was to transform the electricity into DC.
    But that is mitigated by the length of the cable, since it's only done on each end.
    Which is why this much longer cable is going to be underwater.
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  3. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    Lets not forget that Iceland is not the only place where geothermal energy can be produced. The "Ring of fire", Pacific ring, hell, even Yellowstone in the US could be utilized to reduce transmission difficulties. This is not a difficult problem.
    Radiating the excess energy into space would also be easy as infra-red. The space needed to do this would be large, but we have space.
    Once everything is built, maintainence would be relatively cheap considering the benefits.
    If developed nations each put in say, 10bn for building the plants and the same for cabling etc, work could start tomorrow. Poorer nations could easily be subsidised until they get on their feet. I like this as it's a simple and elegant solution for the long term.
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No, but again, we don't have enough geothermal power to make a big difference. If we used every bit of geothermal power in Yellowstone (i.e. turned the park into a big powerplant, which would be sad) we could generate about 800 terawatt-hours a year. That's 3% of our energy needs here in the US.

    Well, as I am sure you aware, our atmosphere traps most of the IR we radiate.
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  7. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    There are engineers and economists I would hire to work out the details, but really all we need is for the worlds governments to put up the money (they wouldn't even have to put it all in in one go) to get in touch with me and we can start drawing up the contracts. Maybe people with influence should start canvassing their politicians.
    I know this is just a thought experiment, but it could easily be made functional.

    Edit: even if there isn't sufficient geothermal energy to supply 100% of our needs, it would still make a significant contribution.
  8. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    And one more thing, its clean. You could innundate these plants or flatten them with earthquakes and it could all still be fixed with funds from the profits with minimal damage to ecosystems.

    If infra red turns out to be inpractical in some places due to cloud cover, it could be turned into microwaves and also beamed into empty space. I'd have to re-route aircraft though.
  9. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    Sattelites would also need re-routing I think, but some of the energy could be captured reducing the need for potentially dirty on-board nuclear plants as are used currently in some applications.
  10. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

    What about the heat loss has there ever been a study that says definativly the Geothermal is safe. How much heat is lost when the returned water is reheated there has to be a tipping point for this. As we remove heat we will decrease the level of heat in the earths core and then in turn cool the plant. So with that in mind is it really green to use Geothermal heat. And yes you have electricity but you have to power vehicles with that and in turn you have to have batteries. Last i looked Lithium was a heavy metal and very toxic in high levels and the average battery will last 10 years, before it will need to be replaced. What about the toxic by products for producing the batteries and the disposal of spent ones. The only true green plant is one with out machines or people that is about as green as you are going to get.
  11. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    We've been using Geothermal energy for many decades.
    We know it's value and we know it's limits.

    In fact the US is the global leader in Geothermal energy production.

    (about 5 times as much installed as Iceland).

    Still, in the USA there are about 2 million km2 of geothermal areas, with an estimated potential of 9 GW, which can be generated by the known geothermal resources.

    That's about 2% of our total primary energy.,welcome_to_our_page_with_data_for_the_united_states.html
  12. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    I'm not saying it is 100% safe or clean, but is considerably cleaner and greener than fossil fuels or nuclear as far as I am aware. I would need to conduct research into whether the tapping of all this energy would affect the planet, but cannot see at this time that it would cause any significant harm.
    Fossil fuels are limited and ecologically unsound however and I think this will have to be the way forwards. Nothing is set in stone however, and this definately needs due consideration I think.
  13. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

    Yes due concideration after it is proven safe you see to many things are ruo shed into with out the proper research or even publication as to what the true effects or safty actually is. When Nuclear energy was brought on line that said it was safe and reliable but there are obvious disadvantages every one focus's on the fact that fosil fuels are bad and I am not saying they are an unlimted supply but we have to be very careful of what we replace it with as we will open a bigger can of worms if we do not concider all options and effects of the option on the world around us.
  14. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

    More Recent calculations from SMU Geothermal Lab conclude:

    Technical Potential for the continental U.S. exceeds 2,980,295 megawatts using Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) and other advanced geothermal technologies such as Low Temperature Hydrothermal. This excludes inaccessible zones such as National Parks and other protected lands.

    We have to put more R&D into this though.
  15. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    The transmission costs have to finance the initial investment and all repairs and other operations costs. When you're talking about a new project, the transmission costs will be directly determined by the construction and maintenance costs. Boost those by an order of magnitude, and the transmission cost also goes up by around that much.

    And the figure I cited for transmission costs there was obtained by taking the annual revenue of the transmission line, and dividing by the amount of power transmitted per year. That cost is an order of magnitude higher than the figures you provided, regarldess of exactly how that relates to the construction and maintenance financing.

    That's still only a fraction of the distance from Iceland to the nearest land mass with any population to speak of, and through lakes/riverbeds instead of open ocean.
  16. tantalus Registered Senior Member

    As stated in the thread, geothermal production in Iceland is not unlimited.

    this ignores other applications of geothermal in Iceland, but as the main focus is regarding potential electricity production and export...
    I hadnt realised until I had a look, how significant hydropower was in Iceland, an unsung hero.

    However, Geothermal via exports may have a major potential for aiding the icelandic economy... and a trans-atlantic cable is being considered

    edit. my mistake. a link regarding the proposed cable to the UK is already present in the thread
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  17. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Who cares?

    The ocean is pretty benign on the bottom.

    Which is why the Titanic is in pretty good shape after all these years.

    And why we keep laying TransAtlantic communication cables.
  18. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Electricity distribution concerns, presumably, given that there currently exist zero ocean-bottom power transmission cables of the length and scale under discussion.

    And that bottom is also a lot farther from the surface, than is a lakebed.

    Which is why it took several decades for anyone to so much as locate the wreck of the Titanic, let alone ascertain its condition.

    A communication cable is a much easier beast, in a lot of ways.

    Note that we don't have any TransAtlantic power cables.
  19. wlminex Banned Banned

    . . . continually-replenishig magma from beneath would ensure a more-or-less continual heat source . . . . once heat is extracted, and magma 'cools' to basalt, Iceland's land area increases . . . it might soon become the earth's largest land-mass! (tongue-in-cheek humor here!).

    Don't need submarine electric cables . . . convert energy produced to microwaves . . . .beam to orbiting microwave distribution satellites . . . re-beam (selectively or course . . . have to pay your electric bill!) to earth surface re-converters.
  20. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Extracting geothermal energy can have a detrimental effect on other local resources.

    There is only a finite amount of energy, and it can only be replenished at a finite rate.

    Extracting energy from a geothermal field can lead to things like depleting geysers and hotpools, which can have further negative effects on the local economy.

    In other words, if people travel to a town to see a geyser, and that geyser stops working because a geothermal power plant is extracting all of the energy, then people are going to stop travelling to that town.
  21. wlminex Banned Banned

    . . . . yeah, but . . . local resource economy might well be overshadowed by the geothermal energy economy . . . besides, to be politically-correct, we could always show people (tourists) where the geyser 'used-to be'
  22. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member


    The price of energy going up is what makes this feasible now.

    Extra distance only adds in twice, so for a long run, it's not significant and it is probably less then the zigs and zags one has to make on a land line to follow rights of way, and of course there are no expensive rights of way to purchase or all those friggin towers to build.

    totally irrelevant.
    When they did find it, much of the interior was in remarkably good shape.

    No value in sending power across the Atlantic, it's not that much different in price.
  23. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    So you agree that the transmission costs are high - much higher than land-based transmission - and it is only when electricity prices rise significantly that such becomes feasible on much of any major scale.

    That's progress. Now if you'd just stop posturing as though you are disagreeing with me, we'd be all done. I guess you've probably forgotten what point I am actually arguing in your haste to disagree and assert superiority, as usual?

    Your speculations to the contrary there aside, you have already been shown that transmission costs are an order of magnitude higher for undersea cables, and implicitly agreed with such just above. So I'm not sure what you're trying to prove with this hand-waving, other than that you're obstinant and combative to the point of incoherence. You really think that ocean-bottom power cables are cheaper than land-based ones?

    The fact that it takes *decades* to find something lost on the bottom of the sea - something the size of, well, the Titanic - is "totally irrelevant" to the extra difficulties and costs presented by working on the bottom of the ocean?

    "Remarkably good" for a ship wrecked and sank decades earlier, sure. But not so much for an operational piece of equipment. Microbes have been eating the steel for a while now, and it's expected that the ships will collapse into the seabed in another couple of decades.

    Note that none of the transAtlantic cables ever deployed remained in service for more than 25 years. Whatever bearing the fate of the Titanic has on this discussion, it certainly does not establish that you can expected equipment on the bottom of the ocean to remain in functional shape for many decades, without repairs.

    More specifically: whatever prices differentials exist, are insufficient to justify the high costs of a transAtlantic power cable. This wouldn't be the case with land power cables - we have plenty of those connecting areas with prices even more similar than the USA and Europe (USA and Canada, various parts of Europe, etc.).

    The point remaining that undersea power cables are much more expensive than their ground-based counterparts.

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