The Air Force is embarking on a new initiative to investigate the possibilities of a geothermal plant at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. This project is part of a broader effort by the Air Force to enhance the resilience and sustainability of its energy infrastructure. The successful implementation of geothermal energy at this base could potentially pave the way for similar projects at other Air Force installations across the country.
Lucinda Notestine, the special projects division chief for the Air Force Office of Energy Assurance, expressed her optimism about the project, stating that if it proves viable at Joint Base San Antonio, it could be replicated anywhere. The Air Force had previously announced partnerships with Eavor Inc. and Zanskar Geothermal & Minerals, Inc. to explore geothermal energy at JBSA and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, respectively. Over the next two years, the goal is to study and test the local potential for geothermal energy, with plans for commercial operations within three to five years.
Geothermal energy harnesses the heat stored in rocks deep beneath the surface and uses it to generate electricity with minimal emissions. Unlike wind or solar energy, geothermal availability remains unaffected by changing weather conditions. Texas, well-known for its oil and gas industry, also has a rich geothermal history. The state has vast geothermal resources, enough to power not only Texas but also the entire world, according to a report by researchers from five Texas universities.
Accessing this untapped energy source will require drilling several miles below the Earth’s surface, which presents technical challenges. However, the Air Force is motivated to pursue environmentally sustainable power options to enhance its energy resilience and reduce its contribution to climate change. Recent conflicts and extreme weather events have highlighted the vulnerabilities associated with reliance on fossil fuels, making geothermal energy an attractive solution.
The Air Force aims to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity on a net annual basis by fiscal year 2030 and 50 percent on a 24/7 basis. The geothermal pilot project, set to begin in 2022, is seen as a promising step towards reaching these ambitious goals. By spearheading innovations in clean energy and resilient infrastructure, Joint Base San Antonio hopes to set an example for other military installations, ensuring a sustainable and secure energy future.
What is geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source that utilizes the heat stored in rocks deep underground to generate electricity through turbines. This process produces minimal emissions and is not influenced by weather conditions.
Why is the Air Force exploring geothermal energy?
The Air Force aims to enhance the resilience and sustainability of its energy infrastructure. Geothermal energy provides a stable, environmentally friendly power source that reduces reliance on fossil fuels and mitigates the impact of climate change on military installations.
Where is the geothermal pilot project taking place?
The geothermal pilot project is being conducted at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, as part of the Air Force’s efforts to explore the feasibility of geothermal energy at its installations.
What are the goals of the Air Force’s Climate Campaign Plan?
The Air Force’s Climate Campaign Plan seeks to achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity on a net annual basis by fiscal year 2030, as well as 50 percent on a 24/7 basis. The geothermal pilot project is seen as a significant step towards these goals.