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A new type of geothermal power plant just made the internet a little greener

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


Illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Wired or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Project Red, a pioneering geothermal operation in northern Nevada, recently began supplying power to a local grid serving Google's data centers
• Developed by Fervo, a geothermal startup, this project represents a significant step in renewable energy technology, especially in the context of powering data centers

🔭 The context: Geothermal plants, traditionally reliant on naturally occurring hot water sources, have been limited in their global electricity contribution 
•  Project Red introduces an "enhanced" geothermal system (EGS), which creates an artificial hot spring by drilling into dry rock and using hydraulic fracturing techniques
• This approach significantly expands the potential locations for geothermal energy extraction

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: This project aligns with Google's ambition to run its data centers on 24/7 green energy
• Geothermal energy, like that harnessed by Project Red, provides a more consistent and reliable source of renewable energy compared to wind and solar, which are subject to fluctuating availability

⏭️ What's next: The success of Project Red, despite its smaller scale, proves the feasibility of this new geothermal approach and Fervo (the developer of the project)  plans to expand this technology with a much larger 400-megawatt project in Utah by 2026
•  Such advancements in geothermal energy could be crucial in meeting the growing energy demands of tech companies and reducing reliance on less sustainable power sources

💬 One quote: "...further tweaks should eke out more electricity in the future" (Tim Latimer, Fervo CEO) 

📈 One stat: Project Red currently generates between 2 and 3 megawatts of power, enough to power thousands of homes, and has reached operational temperatures of 375 degrees Fahrenheit


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