Companies are being invited to lease the rights to explore geothermal resources beneath Mount Spurr, a snowcapped 11,070-foot volcano that most recently erupted in 1992 showering much of Anchorage with volcanic ash.
The state Division of Oil and Gas hopes the lease sale, due to go ahead in August, will be the first of many. It is also considering allowing exploration of the 4,134-foot Augustine Volcano, 171 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The move echoes a trend underway across much of the US as fuel prices, worries about dependence on foreign oil and climate change trigger a surge in geothermal projects, particularly in the West and along the Gulf Coast.
According to experts, America is only just waking up to the ancient power source lying beneath dozens of states that has the potential to supply as much as 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs.
But this has been going on for a long time, just up the coast from Catherine’s Los Angeles office. Below: The Geysers power plant in February 1974.