In a comment on a recent post ("Why We Will Be Using Fossil Fuels for Decades to Come"), commenter J.K. wrote,
Forget wind and solar(-except maybe satellite based), the real next gen energy is geothermal. You don't have to rely on conducive weather conditions or harming the environment. We probably will be using predominantly fossil fuels for the forseable future though. Hopefully not.
U.S. Energy Corp. (Nasdaq: USEG) executives had mentioned on previous occasions that they were considering investments in alternative energy, and today USEG issued a press release announcing that it had invested $3.445 million for a 25% stake in Standard Steam Trust LLC, a privately-held geothermal energy company based in Denver, CO. From the press release,
``After spending considerable time reviewing the renewable energy sector, we firmly believe that our entry into geothermal provides our company with a strong position in a market that has tremendous growth potential,'' said Mark Larsen, President of U.S. Energy Corp. ``Geothermal is a renewable subsurface fuel, and our partners are applying their extensive experience in modern oil and gas plays to geothermal exploration. This sector shows significant promise at a time when carbon management is playing an increasing role in the generation of clean energy in our nation,'' he added.
Since Standard Steam Trust is privately-held, it's hard to speculate on whether USEG paid a fair price for its stake, but it is probably prudent, for political reasons if nothing else, for a diversified natural resources company to position itself as a player in "clean" or "renewable" energy as well. Perhaps this will give USEG some environmental bona fides that will help it somewhat in getting the necessary approvals for its molybdenum mine.
The graphic above, on harnessing geothermal energy, comes from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.