Despite the British Petroleum and Chevron commercials that say they've developed the technology for geo-thermal power, the governments of Iceland, France and Australia have been testing and using it for several years.
To produce electricity, geo-thermal power requires a hole in the ground, one that's deep enough to get down to the magma, the volcanic hot, stirring cauldron within the earth. Then they add water which converts to steam which then drives a turbine and generates electricity.
Even if these private energy companies own the patents, and surely they can't patent "the geyser," a naturally occurring phenomenon, we can use imminent domain to take those patents because the people need them more than the companies. That's the benefit of imminent domain that companies believe only they have the right to use.
Let's imagine for a moment that we're a community of thinking human beings, and I submit to you that we are, and that we need $10 million worth of electricity every year. There are two companies who claim that they can provide that energy for $10 million a year by building a $100 million geo-thermal plant that will last for 50 years. That means the plant will pay for itself in 10 years then put 40 years worth of profits, $400 million, into their own pocket.
However, if we build it ourselves, we can have 50 years of electricity that will only cost us the initial $100 million. That would put $400 million into our own pocket.
Which deal would be better for us?
Democracy can be a powerful tool.
Scott Tyner is from Hattiesburg, MS.