Gerald Staack | From Bust to Riches

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

The oil market, awash in a flood of extra crude oil, may take many months to work through especially with the decline in the demand for oil in the advent of electric cars. With divestment trends in fossil fuels, anxious investors are looking for new capital investment opportunities.

In April 2020, Wikipedia reported that “a total of 1,192 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $14 trillion in assets worldwide had begun or committed to a divestment from declining fossil fuels.”

A painful bust in the history of crude oil happened six years ago when a sharp price drop cost 200,000 industry professionals, almost half the entire workforce, their jobs. Now the oil service industry and its workers, coupled with the oil-price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, are once again threatened with devastation. Jobs so important to the well-being of workers and their families are disappearing, but there is a rainbow on the horizon.

A whole new technological era is starting with scarcely tapped, limitless green energy. It’s everywhere on Earth, day and night. It’s free. It’s called geothermal energy.

Lying directly beneath our feet, the greatest and newest investment opportunity in the world awaits perceptive investors who tap into this inexhaustible energy supply. With it homes can be heated or cooled virtually anywhere in the world 24 hours a day. New homes can be built to accept it as existing homes are transformed to receive it. Harmful, earth-warming CO2 emissions from gas-heated homes are eliminated. Federal subsidies would help make it easily affordable. Without subsidies, on average, a homeowner would need to invest about $12,000 to $30,000 for a geothermal heating and cooling installation. 

Astute venture capitalists, visionaries, see a whole new revolutionary industry developing. Geothermal energy will transform the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and create staggering numbers of new jobs.

According to the U.S. EPA, “Geothermal technology harnesses the Earth heat. Just a few feet below the surface, the Earth maintains a near-constant temperature. Farther below the surface, the temperature increases at an average rate of approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit for every 70 feet in depth. In some regions, tectonic and volcanic activity can bring higher temperature and pockets of superheated water and steam much closer to the surface.”

The EPA identifies three main types of technologies taking advantage of Earth as a heat source:

1) Ground source heat pumps take advantage of the naturally occurring difference between the above-ground air temperature and the subsurface soil temperature to move heat in support of end uses such as space heating, space cooling (air conditioning), and even water heating. Through a series of buried pipes in either horizontal trenches or vertical boreholes that may go several hundred feet below the ground, the heat pump circulates a heat-conveying fluid, sometimes water, through the pipes to move heat from point to point. The heat pump can also operate in reverse, moving heat from ambient air in a building into the ground, in effect cooling the building.

2) Geothermal direct use systems use groundwater that is heated by natural geological processes below the Earth’s surface. Bodies of hot groundwater can be found in many areas with volcanic or tectonic activity. A well is drilled and a pumping system is installed, although in some cases, hot water or steam may rise up through the well without active pumping.

3) Deep geothermal sources provide efficient, clean heat for industrial processes and some large-scale commercial and agricultural uses. Hot water or steam is pumped up through a deep well. As the water rises to the surface, the pressure drops and the water vaporizes into super-heated steam that can be used to spin a turbine and generate electricity. Once the heat is transferred, the now-cooler water is pumped back into the ground.

On July 29, Accountable US, an independent non-partisan group, reported “several dozen oil corporations filing for bankruptcy will be losing upward of 21,500 oil jobs in the Lone Star State alone.” As fossil fuel jobs decline, and new geothermal energy jobs take hold, an Apollo-like era will bring countless jobs and scientific breakthroughs. The development of this new remarkable energy will offer “King Midas” riches to many who participate in its formation. Most importantly, a crucial deterrent to the existential crises of global warming and mass extinction exists.

Gerald Staack

Santa Clarita

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