Castle Geyser in winter

NASCAR Driver’s Big Idea: Tap into Yellowstone Thermals to Power America

Here’s the sum of his plan from his website:

According to Green’s research, the 10,000 geothermal pockets within the 1,580-square-mile area that make up the caldera have the potential to generate enough electricity to power the entire planet. While the United States currently uses about 4 trillion kilowatts annually, the energy produced from just 3 percent of the caldera via steam generators would provide 10 trillion kilowatts a year. The power potential is so huge and yet so achievable within a decade’s time. Green is challenging President Obama to take immediate action, explore this energy-saving proposal, and reduce the U.S. carbon footprint by at least 85 percent within 10 years.

Sound reasonable? It’s not.

First, the plumbing connected to the Yellowstone caldera is a lot more fragile than you think: thermal features come, go and are altered because of incredibly small changes under the surface. To claim you can tap into that plumbing without an unintended side effects is a silly statement.

Especially on the scale needed to power the entire United States and much of North America. Yes, there’s power in the Yellowstone caldera. Lots of it. Physically, where do you put the generators? Set up a huge power plant in the Upper Geyser Basin? And then string power lines across the United States, emanating from Yellowstone?

We suspect Steamboat Geyser will erupt several times before this plan comes to fruition, if only because lawsuits opposing it would tie up the legal system for decades. But hey — judge for yourself and let him know what you think.

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