Texan oil players getting into geothermal

Alexander Richter 12 Mar 2009

USA Today talks about "Texas oilmen leading charge of 'green' energy exploration" and puts up the example of George Alcorn, president of Alcorn Development Co. in a recent article.

An interesting article in USA Today, talks about “Texas oilmen leading charge of ‘green’ energy exploration” and puts up the example of George Alcorn, president of Alcorn Development Co.

“Alcorn recently revamped his business strategy from traditional oil exploration to using abandoned wells and drilling technology to generate geothermal energy as a way to power cities.

The rough-and-tumble image of the Texas oilman may be turning “green.” An increasing number of Texas oilmen and companies are following Alcorn’s lead and swapping oil and gas production for cleaner, renewable-energy strategies.

“We’re trying to catch the new wave, not get swamped by it,” Alcorn says. “You’re going to see more oil companies doing this. There’s a great opportunity to make some money here.”

With mounting national interest in renewable energy, oil companies are starting to think in renewable terms. President Obama’s $800 billion economic stimulus, which contains incentives for renewable projects, has helped push the swing.”

There are currently more than 30 bills related to renewable energy, including 18 solar power bills, in the Texas Legislature that would give incentives to renewable projects, says state Sen. Troy Fraser, chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.

Texas’ vast open land, oil infrastructure and miles of distribution lines make it ideal for it to be at the forefront of developing the country’s renewable energy industry, he says. According to state benchmarks, by 2020, Texas should be getting 20% of its energy from renewable sources — leading the nation and much of the world, Fraser says.”

“Alcorn says he got the idea to switch his oil company, Alcorn Development Co., to renewable energy while flying over western Texas late last year and saw hundreds of abandoned oil wells dotting the landscape below. Later, a friend and eventual partner from New Mexico, a physicist, suggested using the wells to generate geothermal energy.”

“The plan solidified in December when Obama announced his economic stimulus package, Alcorn says. Federal and state incentives make the $600 million project economically doable. More oil and gas companies will soon be looking to switch to renewables, he says. “It’s inevitable,” he says.”

Source: USA Today