Hot rocks beneath the Earth's surface hold much promise for the nation's energy needs, but it's going to take big money to make the science work, the Christian Science Monitor reports. With $1 billion investment over the next 15 years, experts say geothermal power could provide 10% of the nation's energy—cleanly—by 2050. Google is on board for $10 million, with the company calling the technology the "killer app of the energy world."
The hefty price tag has kept the emissions-free resource growing slowly. But once tapped, a geothermal source can last centuries. The US leads the world in geothermal production, and California already uses it for 5% of its electricity capacity. In fact, only the Western US has the natural prerequisite conditions—subterranean water and fractured hot rock formations. But new technology can fracture rocks and inject needed water to make the rest of America as resourceful.