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Geothermal to Power Juneau Airport, Pool

There are many alternatives to petroleum if we’re just willing to look. Thankfully, my community of Juneau is one of the places looking. According to a October 24, 2008 Juneau Empire story titled, “Geothermal system to be used at airport” the Juneau airport will soon be heated by a system using geothermal energy. This system should pay for itself whenever the cost of heating fuel is more than $3 a gallon. While oil prices are falling today because of the financial panic, they’ll be back up. And when they do, heating at our airport won’t have to suffer. As a bonus, the system will eliminate the need to shovel airport sidewalks in winter.

We’re building a new indoor swimming pool in town and it will use a similar system. Interestingly, the technology, called a “ground-source heat pump” doesn’t depend on having heat vents, volcanoes, geysers or other obvious geothermal sources. It just takes advantage of the heat difference between the surface and deep underground.

It’s a creative solution to a difficult problem in a town far away from cheap petroleum. It’s my hope we’ll see many more creative non-petroleum solutions if Barack Obama is fortunate enough to be elected President.

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