PITTSBURGH, PA – In a move that has pitted right-wing reactionary environmentalists against left-wing radical nature-lovers, a Harrisburg, PA-based geothermal provider recently took advantage of the approval that it received from the state regulator to pilot an enhanced geothermal technology that could adversely impact the environment. But then again, the environment could also benefit from its use.
The 100-person company was able to increase the efficiency of its geothermal heating and cooling systems by over 3000% by hydraulically fracturing its ground-coupled heat exchangers in the test area.
Now listen here. Are the fracks that we made impacting the water table? <shoulder shrug> Who knows? Will people rely less on the burning of natural gas and coal to heat and cool their homes? For sure. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that you can’t have it all, you gotta take the good with the bad. That’s just the laws of science. – Dr. Dale Delo, Warm Rock’s VP of Operations
The company literally hired a service company that typically services the oil and gas industry to frack its geothermal loops. The service company, Fracs R’ Us, performed a 60-stage frack that consumed 78 million cubic meters of fresh river water and 10 tonnes of sand per stage. Some might think this is over kill for 2 relatively small geothermal ground loops, but Fracs R’ Us was perfectly fine with the $3.7 million invoice.
The company’s enhanced geothermal pilot has become the subject of significant controversy because environmentalists speculate that the poisonous fracking fluids are making their way into the fresh water table, seeing as the fracks were made between 80 adn 120 meters total vertical depth (TVD).
I don’t care how much coal we need to burn to run the air conditioner in my 4000 square foot house, I WILL NOT tolerate any contamination of the water table beneath my home. No way! If fracking oil wells 2000 meters down is wrecking the water table, it’s for dang sure that fracking geo loops 100 meters down is messing the water up. – Lavender Starbright, resident in neighbourhood where pilot was executed
The Pennsylvania Energy and Environmental Regulatory Board was forced to reconsider issuing licenses for this type of shallow fracking in light of the protests that had formed on its door steps. But after careful deliberation, the regulator determined that the net gain of fracking geothermal loops was positive to the environment, so it will continue to issue them indiscriminately.
Dr. Delo was overheard exclaiming, “Groundwater be damned, this is green energy baby!” as he left the PEERB hearing on the matter.