Earthquakes from geothermal power ?  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

New Scientist has an update on the latest tremor of debate about geothermal energy and earthquakes, with new rumblings coming from Germany - Geothermal power quakes find defenders.

Geothermal energy is in the dock in Germany, but some scientists are pleading for leniency. A government panel is investigating claims by the geological survey for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate that a geothermal plant triggered a magnitude-2.7 earthquake on 15 August in the town of Landau in the state. If the panel finds against the company that built the plant, Geo X of Landau, it could be shut down. ...

Engineers rather than technology must take some of the blame, says Roy Baria, a geophysicist on the panel reviewing the Landau quake, who also works for geothermal energy company EGS Energy, based in Penzance, UK . Past quakes triggered by plants in Basel, Switzerland, were avoidable, he says. "The engineers failed to adhere to best-practice guidelines."

Even the worst geothermal earthquakes have failed to topple a building or kill a human, says Ernest Majer, a seismologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, pointing out that geothermal power isn't the only industry that triggers earthquakes.

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