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ISU geologists say SE Idaho has massive geothermal potential

Geologists at Idaho State University say there’s a major untapped resource under southeast Idaho.

ISU researchers said the region is home to one of the hottest geothermal systems in the world.

“Idaho is looked at by people in the geothermal industry with sort of saliva in their mouths,” research geologist John Welhan said.

Geologists said the hot rocks underground could provide power more cheaply and with less pollution than oil, coal, or natural gas.

“Then you move to geothermal where there’s relatively little infrastructure needed for it. There’s no big gas clouds or pollution plumes produced by these situations. And it’s a really neat idea,” geology grad student Michael Ginsbach said.

ISU researchers said in the coming decades, geothermal energy could also heat up the areas economy and provide a lot of jobs.

“The question is how long down the road will we have to look. That is dependent on the engineering challenges that lie ahead,” Welhan said.

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