REYKJAVIK, Iceland — The federal government has been sending teams to the geysers and lava fields of Iceland in recent weeks to search for ways to reduce U.S. dependence on coal and oil. Their answer might lie deep under Iceland's black rocks, where hot water percolates from the heat of the earth's internal movements — and provides 72 percent of the island nation's energy. Members of Congress and officials from the Energy Department have been taking tours of the Hitaveita Sudurnesja geothermal plant outside the capital, Reykjavik. "The workers here, they're always learning bit by piece," said plant manager Thordur Andresson as he talked about the growth of Iceland's geothermal energy industry. "We can do it everywhere with our knowledge." Mr. Andresson swung his right arm upward to describe steam rising from holes drilled into caves to power the turbines for his electricity-generating plant, which droned away behind him. When Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat and chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, returned from her trip in late August, she said, "I was impressed with the developments in geothermal technology I learned about in Iceland. I believe geothermal will be in the mix as we look at clean renewable energy sources." Mrs. Boxer and the Energy Department are exploring geothermal options as political pressure builds to reduce emissions that many scientists say contribute to global warming.
Only 0.4 percent of the current U.S. energy supply comes from geothermal power.
By Tom RamstackNew York Times - 22/10/2007