Days 157-177: not the rains down in Africa

In December, the University offered a three-week intensive course on assessing the environmental impact of an industrial project.  Most countries have an environmental assessment process: the U.S. was one of the early adopters, creating a system of environmental impact statements in 1969.  The specifics – what projects require an assessment and what the assessment must… Read More Days 157-177: not the rains down in Africa

Days 91-97: what a beautiful world this will be

In the last couple of posts, we looked at the challenges of prospecting for geothermal energy.  Basically, you need to find water at high temperature and pressure, usually located miles underground.  Ideally, you want reservoirs contained in rocks capable of holding lots of water and through which lots more water can flow to replenish whatever… Read More Days 91-97: what a beautiful world this will be

Day 40: getting into hot water, part two

Icelanders have made effective use of their geothermal resources, extracting groundwater heated by molten rock in the earth below and using that hot water to heat the places they live and work.  Otherwise, they’d have to choose between freezing in the winter or importing foreign fuels.  Neither option is very attractive. The groundwater used for heating homes isn’t… Read More Day 40: getting into hot water, part two

Day 37: who’s got the power?

Here’s a technical question raised by the lectures in our introductory class at Reykjavík University: given Iceland’s natural resources, would it be correct to say that Icelanders have access to virtually unlimited power? Here’s a lawyerly answer:  well, it depends. Iceland sits atop a rift in the surface of the Earth where two continental plates are slowly… Read More Day 37: who’s got the power?