Post Number: 853
|Posted on Friday, June 26, 2009 - 5:42 pm: |
Okay, we know about the Northern California Alembic Gathering tomorrow. I'm sure it will be great (I managed to get there last year), though for those of us on the low end of the scale, it'll be tough to compete with the recent event at Bag End. Still, it will be loud, and deep, and it's a good thing there aren't many neighbors nearby.
But at least we know what to expect - which is a great deal more than can be said regarding a geothermal project taking place about twenty miles north of Santa Rosa.
The New York Times has a nicely done overview of the project, as well as a more detailed story.
Briefly, a company named AltaRock will be starting a project, perhaps as early as this week, using a technique that was previously tried in Basel, Switzerland. Quoting from the NYTimes,
"... AltaRock Energy will begin using nearly the same method to drill deep into ground laced with fault lines in an area two hours drive north of San Francisco.
Residents of the region, which straddles Lake and Sonoma Counties, have already been protesting swarms of smaller earthquakes set off by a less geologically invasive set of energy projects there. AltaRock officials said that they chose the spot in part because the history of mostly small quakes reassured them that the risks were limited.
AltaRock maintains that it will steer clear of large faults and that it can operate safely.
But in a report on seismic impact that AltaRock was required to file, the company failed to mention that the Basel program was shut down because of the earthquake it caused. AltaRock claimed it was uncertain that the project had caused the quake, even though Swiss government seismologists and officials on the Basel project agreed that it did. Nor did AltaRock mention the thousands of smaller earthquakes induced by the Basel project that continued for months after it shut down."
The overview and article are worth a look; in addition, there's a slideshow in which some of the local residents discuss their reactions to the "minor" quakes they've been living with already from the "less invasive set of energy projects."
While I'm not an alarmist by nature, and do feel strongly that we need to be putting a lot of effort into investigating alternative energy sources, this is enough to give me pause.
Did I mention the site is about 35-40 kilometers from Alembic?