In this episode, host Daniel Raimi talks with Tim Latimer, the cofounder and chief executive officer of Fervo Energy, a geothermal energy developer. Latimer makes clear how geothermal energy—while comprising only a tiny portion of America’s total current energy use—could be an essential part of future decarbonization efforts. But despite the ubiquity of hot rocks across the Earth and the relative success of geothermal energy in places as disparate as California and Kenya, Latimer also cautions that technological innovations will be necessary to reduce both the environmental impacts and the costs.
Listen to the Podcast
- The basics of geothermal energy: “Everywhere on Earth, if you go deep enough, you end up finding really hot rocks … You drill down wells into it, and you end up having injection wells that pump cold water down [and] production wells that return hot water and steam to the surface … When we talk about deep geothermal energy, what we're talking about is accessing these hot pockets in the Earth and doing so in a way that we can capture that energy from a fluid up through production wells and make something useful out of it on the surface.” (5:37)
- New technologies are enabling the expansion of geothermal: “What's interesting, if you think about geothermal in the last five to 10 years in the United States, is that we have certainly experienced growth in our sector … It's been growing in large part because of new technology developments that have allowed us to access lower-temperature resources through what's called binary cycle power plants, which are a newer development technologically in the space of geothermal, but account for most of the growth in the last 10 to 20 years of geothermal power in the United States.” (8:44)
- Costs remain a barrier to wider deployment: “What you find with geothermal is that these really high-quality resources may be able to hit [a low enough price]. But the rest of the supply may require a $60 price or a $70 price or an $80 price to deliver it, because maybe it's farther away from transmission, or maybe it's deeper … So, can someone find a spot in the western United States where you can deliver geothermal power at that price? Definitely. But can we find dozens of gigawatts at that price? Not with today's technology; not until we come down the learning curve a little bit and push down costs.” (20:40)
Top of the Stack
- The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemison
- “How the World’s Largest Garbage Dump Evolved Into a Green Oasis” by Robert Sullivan
The Full Transcript
Daniel Raimi: Hello, and welcome to Resources Radio, a weekly podcast from Resources for the Future. I'm your host Daniel Raimi. This week, we talk with Tim Latimer, co-founder and CEO of Fervo Energy, a geothermal energy developer. Geothermal is a relatively small source of energy in the US, but it has the potential to grow substantially.
I'll ask Tim to tell us how the technology works, where it's deployed in the US and around the world, and how it might grow in the years ahead. We'll also talk about some of the environmental risks of geothermal, and along the way make a bunch of bad puns about hot rocks. Stay with us. Okay, Tim Latimer from Fervo Energy, thank you so much for joining us today on Resources Radio.
Tim Latimer: Wonderful to be here.
Daniel Raimi: So Tim, today we're going to do a little bit of a 101 on geothermal energy, and you're going to help guide us through learning about the technology and a variety of other issues. But we like to start every episode by asking people about how they got interested in working on energy or environmental issues. So what attracted you to working on energy?
Tim Latimer: That's an interesting question and we could go back aways I guess. So first off, I'm from Texas, which like, if you're from Texas, energy and the environment is just a fact of life. It's not something you really miss out on really anywhere in the state. But I think in particular for me, my hometown is Riesel, Texas. A really small town and 1,000 people live there in central Texas, and it's actually the home of the most recently constructed coal-fired power plant in the entire US.
So the Sandy Creek power plant, they started construction on it in the 2000s, put it online in 2013, and it's the last major coal plant to be built because obviously a lot of market trends went in the opposite direction. But what that meant was that they started the planning and community engagement phase of that plant actually when I was in junior high.
And I remember the companies and community people coming in and having a big debate in my town about whether or not to build this coal plant. And there were really interesting arguments on both sides. I mean, first off, the economic benefits and the tax benefits of constructing this massive facility in a thousand person town were tremendous.
But obviously coal and all the pollution and particulate matter and noise and everything that comes along with it was definitely something that raised a lot of eyebrows for our community. And so there was a huge back and forth demonstration, city council meetings, you name it, and ultimately they voted to approve it.
And all of the positive economic benefits that were promised mostly came true. I mean, they built a brand new high school, they upgraded the streets and roads, all this stuff with the new tax revenue, but all of the negative benefits were true too. I mean, you can still hear that coal plant from my parents' house, 24/7 operating, even though they are a couple of miles away. And it has definitely led to a change in the local pollution impacts.
And so I watched that process the whole time I was growing up and I got left with a really big taste in my mouth about how I don't like these trade-offs. People shouldn't have to be forced in their communities to choose between something that's economically beneficial but destroys the environment or vice versa. And so I got interested from a very young age trying to think about why can't we make the energy system better so we don't have to put people in these tough trade-offs.
And so that attracted me to engineering in the first place and has led me to be really laser focused on sustainability and delivering electricity and energy to folks without all those negative benefits. Just observing how that trade-off played out in my local community growing up has really colored how I see the energy sector in the world at large throughout the rest of my career.
Daniel Raimi: Yeah, that's so fascinating. And when you mentioned taste in your mouth that reminded me of how I went on a tour of a large coal-fired power plant here in Michigan. And when I was climbing up near the boilers, I actually could taste some of the—I think it was coal ash—but I suddenly tasted some kind of particulate matter in my mouth. And so it's figuratively and literally a real issue.
Tim Latimer: It certainly has, and I can tell you it's something you can't ignore it when you're in town. I mean, it visually dominates everything around us, and then the sound and the noise and the smell. I mean, it's all there. But it's not all bad, right? I mean, it's very true. The schools and the roads and everything that all came as a direct result of that project but at a real cost.
Daniel Raimi: Yeah, for sure. Well, I'm sure we could of course talk about trade-offs with energy all day, as we often do on this podcast, but we're going to focus in now on geothermal energy, which is your area of expertise. And to get us started, I thought it would be useful to ask if you could just help us understand how the technology works.
So most of us, or at least many of us have an intuitive sense of maybe how a coal fired power plant works or how a wind turbine works or how a hydropower dam generates electricity. But at least for me, I don't have a good mental picture for how geothermal works. So can you give us a really basic introduction to the technology?
Tim Latimer: Sure. So, the first thing that you got to think about with geothermal is that there are rocks around the Earth that are hot, and they can be hot because of volcanic activity, they can be hot because of rifts or boundaries or you name it. There are all kinds of reasons geologically why these rocks are hot. And everywhere on Earth, if you go deep enough, you ended up finding really hot rocks. And that's kind of a leftover from the pressures and the systems that we have here on Earth and in places that are particularly hot.
Geologically speaking, whether we're talking about Iceland or Kenya or northern California, that heat is close enough to the surface that we can drill it and access that heat and capture that energy directly. So typically geothermal identifies these resources that have a lot of heat close to the surface where it's cost effective to access it.
You drill down wells into it, and you end up having injection wells and production wells: injection wells that pump cold water down and production wells that return hot water and steam to the surface. You pump through these hot reservoirs return that steam at the surface, and then that steam at the surface is captured and put to productive uses, either powering turbines to generate electricity or powering greenhouses or district heating systems, you name it.
But when we talk about deep geothermal energy, that's what we're talking about is accessing these hot pockets in the Earth and doing so in a way that we can capture that energy from a fluid up through production wells and make something useful out of it on the surface.
Daniel Raimi: Great. That's super helpful. So you mentioned northern California as being one place where we have good geothermal resources close to the surface. Can you give us a sense of how much geothermal energy is produced today in the US and where it's distributed and maybe how it's changed over the last five or 10 years?
Tim Latimer: Sure. I think that the state of play for geothermal in the US is that we get about one half of 1 percent of the US’s total electricity supply from geothermal. And that's pretty concentrated in certain places. That number, by the way, translates to about three gigawatts of installed geothermal capacity.
And what you see is most of that is located in the western United States— California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, a few other states in the west. And then there's also producing plants in Alaska and Hawaii. Traditionally, those are the regions where the rocks are hot.
I mean, I joke sometimes that geologically, California is in some ways trying to leave the rest of the United States. And what that does is it stretches out risks in that area. And then also creates this whole system that we call the Basin and Range system that covers many western States, where the crust is actually thinner. And you have these heat resources that can come up closer to the surface as a result. And that kind of geologic movement is what causes the resources to generally be found in the western US.
Now there's some promising opportunities for development, both in electricity and in power generation, and then direct use in the eastern US. But today that's been a little bit farther behind. So what you see is markets like California get about 6 percent of its electricity from geothermal. In markets like Nevada, it's closer to 12 percent. Those are probably the two states where it's the most meaningful percentage, although there's a good installed capacity in many other locations as well, but that's really the state of where we are today.
And what's interesting, if you think about geothermal in the last five to 10 years in the United States, we have certainly experienced growth in our sector. Although growth is a relative term and what you often see when you plot it against wind and solar is those renewables that had such a tremendous trajectory that the growth of geothermal doesn't show up as well.
But it has been growing. And interestingly, it's been growing in large part because of new technology developments that have allowed us to access lower temperature resources through what's called binary cycle power plants, which are a newer development technologically in the space for geothermal, but account for most of the growth in the last 10 to 20 years of geothermal power in the United States.
Daniel Raimi: That's really interesting. So just to make sure I understand what you said, the technological developments have enabled basically the technology to be more economical, even with lower temperature rock, so the rocks aren't quite as hot as they are maybe in California?
Tim Latimer: Correct. So if you think about where the first geothermal resources were developed, I mean, developing geothermal resources is no different than any other natural resources, whether you're talking about oil or wind or anywhere else, the first place that you develop as the place to put the best resource.
And globally what that meant for the geothermal industry is the first plants were... The first plant really was developed around a hundred years ago in Italy, but the first large scale geothermal power plants were all developed in the fifties, sixties and seventies in Northern California and New Zealand, Italy, Iceland—places that geologically have these phenomenal resources.
So the first large-scale plant, and today still the largest geothermal facility in the world is a plant called the Geysers Plant in Northern California. It produces roughly one gigawatt of electricity and has been producing consistently for 40 or 50 years now. And that was what was tapped first. And what you see there is a phenomenally hot resource. That's very close to the surface that has tons of energy that we can capture.
And for many decades, that was really the story of geothermal. If you had one of these beautiful resources that had a ton of heat and flow capacity right by the surface, you could develop it, but pushing out to other resources was more challenging. And now what's happened is a lot of innovation has occurred in the last couple of decades that have allowed us to drill deeper, more cost effectively, identify more resources, and then importantly, make use of electricity generating capacity, even in reservoirs with lower temperature.
And so that's what these binary cycle plants do, is they allow us to produce electricity, even down in the regime of 150°C or 200°C, or even down all the way to 70°C in certain situations. Whereas those traditional geothermal resources where there's still a lot of development work to be done might be more like 250 or 300 or 350° Celsius.
Daniel Raimi: Got it. That's super interesting. So, you've described where a lot of the concentration of existing resources are and existing power plants are in the US. Can you give us a sense of how viable they might be using these new technologies and other parts of the country where resources would be more modest?
Tim Latimer: Yeah. There's a lot of opportunity for growth. So I started off this discussion telling you that we've got about three gigawatts installed in the US to date. That is just a fraction of what could be accessed realistically over the next several decades. So probably the best reference for this, for those interested in learning more, I point people to the GeoVision study that was produced by the Department of Energy that came out last year.
And they identified the set of technological policy and regulatory market barriers that we need to tackle to lay out their roadmap and their vision, which is to get to 16 percent of US electricity supply by mid-century. And so that'd be around 120 gigawatts, a huge uptick from what we have today. And it relies really on a lot of technologies that are already in existence, or could be rapidly developed with the right policy support and fixing some of the regulatory barriers that have prevented geothermal development from scaling.
But it has the capacity. Geothermal, just think about this—the Earth is big and the Earth is really hot. Resource potential has never been the problem for geothermal. Well, there's enough heat just in the first five kilometers of the Earth surface that we could access today in the US to power the entire electric grid. No doubt about it. It's always been a question of: can we do that technically and economically? And so that's what this report identifies.
That's the prize that really the research community and private companies like mine are going after is not trying to add a little bit more resource, but let's get it up to something like 16 percent where it can have a really meaningful impact on decarbonizing the most difficult parts of the electric sector. Our nighttime electricity, our winter electricity, that reliable nature where the 24/7 value of geothermal electricity production really shines. So that's the potential that we're looking at.
Daniel Raimi: That's fascinating. I really didn't know that there was that much potential out there. It's fascinating.
Tim Latimer: The Earth is big and the Earth is hot. That's two things that we don't lack for it all is the resource that's there. There's a lot of it, and there's a huge upside to be gained from more geothermal development.
Daniel Raimi: That's great. Is that on your business card? The Earth is big and the Earth is hot. If I was in your line of work, I might put that on my business card.
Tim Latimer: It's a useful point, and I think one that I hope people can take to heart. Because there's just enormous potential and the Earth being big and the Earth being hot, it's probably two things that are very important for any person setting out in their geothermal career to understand pretty well.
Daniel Raimi: Interesting. So one of the things you just mentioned is the potential 24/7 nature of geothermal power. And in preparation for this episode, I looked up the levelized cost of electricity, which is a metric for evaluating the costs of deploying certain types of electricity technologies from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). And what you see is that geothermal by the US EIA's metric is one of the cheapest sources of electricity that's available.
It's cheaper according to the EIA than natural gas, it’s cheaper than wind—even though those technologies are seeing widespread deployment. So when you look at that number, that levelized cost number and see how low it is, intuitively one would think that, "Oh, we're going to see a lot more geothermal coming down the pipe." But that's not necessarily the case. Can you talk to us a little bit about the dichotomy between a potentially low levelized cost figure that the US EIA shows and why there isn't more geothermal that's under construction now?
Tim Latimer: That's a great question. And I think maybe I'll start by talking a little bit about value and what geothermal's role on the grid can be and should be. And then maybe I'll talk a little bit about some of the development barriers, because that number by the EIA, I wish that were true for all the resources we're looking at today because if it was then we'd have solved climate change.
If you could have as much geothermal as you wanted at $38 megawatt-hour levelized cost of energy (LCOE), then we can all go home. But the reality is that there's a little bit more nuance to that and that number could be a little bit higher in different situations. So the first, just to talk about value. So what we are seeing in the geothermal marketplace right now is that geothermal electricity is somewhat unique in the fact that it's a renewable resource, emission free, and produces 24/7 reliably, and it can be load following and dispatchable.
So that's a kind of set of attributes that not many electricity generating resources can claim. And what that means is that as the grid changes, isn't that we push to deeper and deeper levels of decarbonization. Those attributes provide more and more value to the grid.
So if you read different studies and grid modeling exercises, what people have shown very well time and again, is that with wind solar and batteries—just mature deployable technologies that we could build rapidly today—we can get depending on what reports you read, 50, 60, 70, 80 percent of our electricity, sometimes even more just from scaling those up today and it's very cost-effective. And I think that's the direction we're going and it's quite exciting.
Now what almost all of these reports universally agree on is getting the last 10, 20, 30 percent of the electricity generated in a carbon free manner is going to be extraordinarily difficult and that we need something new to be there because really, if you think about the projections on climate change, carbon emissions, we can't really just get 80 percent of the way there and be okay. I mean, we truly have to get to zero, and then start even pulling carbon out of the system, based off of most projections of what we want to do in terms of tackling climate change.
And so it's really important we have something there to compliment our wind solar and battery resources. Those we should be deploying as fast as possible, as quick as possible. Get out there and get that low hanging fruit there, but we've got to be working on something like geothermal, which could be the answer to the last and most difficult piece of that today.
And so what you see, just for an example, taking a snapshot of the market in California right now, California’s new SB 100 law not only put in an electricity target that we're going to get a hundred percent of California's electricity from carbon free resources by 2045. They also put in a really strong, intermediate target around 60 percent by 2030, which is only 10 years away. And we're around 33-ish percent right now in California from renewable sources.
So we've got to double that in the next 10 years. Roughly double that. And we have to do it in a way where we start decarbonizing nighttime and evening and winter electricity, because solar has been so phenomenal that it's almost cleaned up a lot of the daytime supply. And so not only do we need to double that in California, but we need to do it in a way that lets us tackle this evening night, winter problems for carbon free electricity generation.
So you're seeing the market turn and a lot of Community Choice Aggregations (CCAs), utilities, buyers of power in the western US and states that have taken decarbonization seriously are now signing up geothermal contracts for the first time in nearly a decade because they're now starting to think what's the cheapest way to decarbonize nighttime electricity and geothermal because a 24/7 reliable resource really shines there.
So that's the value piece of that. And that's what's driving a lot of the uptick and interest right now is what that does from a diversification and portfolio standpoint to add value to your electric system. We're at the time now, when customers are demanding that. And so it's an exciting time to be in geothermal. Now that's the excitement part.
Now the challenging part is, like I said, I wish that EIA number were true in my experience. That we could deliver geothermal power that cheap and that's a much lower number than what you see in like a Lazard analysis or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory annual technology baseline number where it might be closer to $80 or $90 or above. And I think part of this comes down to the fact that with geothermal resources, there's a lot of variety inside of that depending on how deeply the resources, how hot the resources are, what kind of technology you're using at the surface, how close are you to transmission.
I mean, all these things factor in a lot and because we're so dependent on the geology, it's a little bit different than other resources where you generally kind of know what the costs are. What you find with geothermal is that these really high quality resources may be able to hit that top end number. But the rest of the supply may require a $60 price or a $70 price or an $80 price to deliver it, because maybe it's farther away from transmission or maybe it's deeper, or maybe it's not quite as hot or there's other factors that drive into this.
So can someone find a spot in the western US where you can deliver geothermal power at that price? Definitely. But can we find dozens of gigawatts at that price? Not with today's technology, not until we come down the learning curve a little bit and push down costs. So it's really a question of how much resource can we get, where, and a lot of the geothermal resource in the western US with the right policy support could probably be developed in this $60 to $70 range.
Which is a price that's now quite compelling for a lot of customers thinking about decarbonizing their system, because that's by far the cheapest way that you're going to get reliable nighttime, evening, winter electricity decarbonized. And so that's quite interesting, but it's quite a bit different number than what the EIA says at $38.
Daniel Raimi: Got it. That's really helpful. So we've been talking mostly about electricity the last 10, 15 minutes, but there are other potential applications for geothermal energy. Can you give us kind of a whirlwind tour of what some of those other applications might be?
Tim Latimer: Absolutely. There's a whole spectrum of geothermal from drilling a small hole in your backyard to use it for what they call ground source heat pumps, all the way to really deep electricity generation. And in a category in the middle that's called direct to use. And direct use is also deep wells also used in the heat, but not for power generation purposes. So, it’s hot.
And basically any application you can think of where heat or cooling might be valuable somewhere around the world people have done this for geothermal in a really exciting way. And I'll just tell you about a recent trip I took to Kenya, which is now one of the world leaders in geothermal. They get a little bit more than 50 percent of their electricity from geothermal now. It's been a huge growth country for the industry over the last decade.
And Kenya has really come out as a true leader in terms of development and understanding of geothermal resources. And they have taken very seriously the different direct uses you have here. So you can go to a facility in Kenya. And I was able to do this right outside of Nakuru, Kenya, where they have greenhouses that are powered by geothermal. They have fish ponds that are powered by geothermal. When I say powered by geothermal, I don't mean electricity. I mean that they use that heat to control the temperature year round.
So you have the plants at the optimum temperature for efficient growing. And so like in a place like Kenya, actually flowers are one of the biggest export products that Kenya provides. And a lot of growers have been able to co-locate their flower production with the geothermal facilities so that they can use that heat to maintain optimum growing conditions that are really low cost and in a carbon free manner, year round to double the productivity of their plants.
So there's all kinds of applications like this, essentially any time you can think of people or industries needing heat, that's kind of in that category, let's call it anywhere from 30° Celsius all the way up to 150-200° Celsius, geothermal can be excellent at producing that. And that also provides opportunities for other sectors like district heating.
So you go to like Iceland and it's kind of fascinating. Even the wintertime at this place up on the Arctic circle, people will sit in their homes that the windows open in the winter time, so they can get a fresh breeze. Because with geothermal power, it's carbon free and it's so cheap that you can just keep your home whatever temperature you want and they've even lined the streets.
So they don't even have to do any shoveling of snow because they heat the streets, so that this snow melts as soon as it lands on it. So there's all kinds of things that you can do in terms of geothermal district heating. And that's a market that really has become very common in Scandinavia and China, where that's really taking off. The US has been a bit of a laggard. We've got a fantastic resource in Boise.
If you ever go to her downtown Boise, Idaho, a lot of the downtown area is on the same geothermal heating system, but it really hasn't taken hold beyond that. And I think we need some innovation and some technology and some policies to support it, to see it really take off. And I think where this is exciting is geothermal heat could be a hugely valuable resource for the Northeast in the US. An area where we're going to have a really hard time decarbonizing, especially that winter load.
So I'll point to projects like recently, Cornell got awarded a grant from the Department of Energy to explore drilling deep geothermal wells, to swap their entire campus from a currently boiler-fired heating system to be geothermal-heated. And so thinking about an entire college campus that could now be produced to the carbon free heating source, even in a Cornell winter, which is famously cold.
So there's these opportunities for things outside the electricity generating sector that I think regions in the US like the Northeast that haven't been traditional geothermal hotspots, if you pardon the pun, can really take advantage of. And there's a lot of different value streams that you can think of on top of geothermal outside of just electricity generation.
Daniel Raimi: That's great. Thanks so much for that overview. Again, as always, we could talk about this stuff for so much longer, but that's one of the great primer.
Tim Latimer: The last one I'll just plug quickly because I can't forget about it especially as we think about the electric vehicle supply: geothermal brines, that reservoir fluid usually has a lot of lithium in it. And there's pilot projects now, in the Salton sea in California, in Iceland, in France to actually directly extract lithium. So you can have commercial grade lithium for electric vehicle battery production, right from the geothermal resource. So that's an additional revenue stream that people are building out right now for geothermal resources.
Daniel Raimi: Interesting. So we've been talking for the last few minutes about the positive attributes of geothermal energy. There clearly are a substantial number of them, but there also are some risks. I remember when I was writing my book on fracking and I was learning about the connection between wastewater and fracking and earthquakes. I came across studies about risks of seismicity associated with geothermal energy. So I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about that as well as help us understand whether there might be other environmental risks to be concerned about.
Tim Latimer: I think that's a good question. And there are some definitely some challenges to be addressed in geothermal, both economically and from a resource standpoint, and also environmentally. So, one of the things about geothermal is it takes a long time to develop. And so that's something that geothermal is not really very responsive to, "Oh, we need power this year." That's not really something that's realistic for geothermal.
So one of the big things that's kept geothermal from being developed, is it truly does require a planning cycle that's longer than two to three years to get it online. So that's definitely one of the challenges commercially and with the resource in general. So that's an issue commercially that's a barrier to development.
Whenever you talk about environmentally, there's a few things that come into this. I mean, first off, just like any other resource, stewardship of the local air pollution, local water, all of those things are something that geothermal developers have to pay a lot of attention to and especially plants using more conventional what they call flash turbine cycle electricity for geothermal.
A lot of times the reservoir fluid in steam is run through the turbine and then vented directly to the atmosphere. So there's been situations where whatever comes up with that reservoir fluid, whether it's CO₂ or other gases that are not great from a pollution environmental standpoint can get released out into the community.
And so I think traditional geothermal using that kind of technology, there's certainly been some local environmental impacts that are not always great that need to be addressed. I think that's one of the things, whenever you think about a binary cycle plan, it's a closed loop at the surface, you don't vent any of the reservoir fluid to the atmosphere, so it's truly a zero emission resource.
So that's one thing that is a benefit to that resource compared to traditional geothermal, where there can be some marginal emissions. It really depends on what kind of technology you're using at the surface for that. And then, so that's something to be thoughtful about with geothermal is flash cycle geothermal. There can be some local pollution impacts and even CO₂ associated with that.
And then finally, to get to your point about the induced seismicity issues, there's been examples of that associated with geothermal before, I think most famously there was a magnitude 3.6 earthquake in Basel, Switzerland about 15 years ago, that was associated with the geothermal project that really alerted people to the fact that these projects can have some seismic events associated with them.
And I'll point out that a magnitude 3.6 earthquake was not enough to cause any damage in Basel. It was not enough to put anybody in danger. But it was enough to certainly scare people. And I think that's valid. I mean, obviously no one wants to be in a situation where something as scary as an earthquake can be in the cards for development. So, that's something that's happened with geothermal projects in the past.
What I can say is the regulatory regime in the United States was highly responsive to that event that happened in Switzerland about 15 years ago and has implemented something that's called the induced seismicity mitigation protocol that all geothermal operations have to follow in the US if there's a risk of any seismic events on that land. And it's a very rigorous process, that's kind of best in class that walks through to ensure safe operations.
And it's been looked at by seismology experts and all the people that you would want to understand that process. And as a result, I think that's one of the many reasons why we've never had an issue with that kind of event in the US. And I think we're in a really good position to continue to safely develop in the US geothermal, because that protocol is much more stringent than anything that the oil and gas industry follows. And I think it's been a key reason why you haven't had any of those issues in the US today.
Daniel Raimi: That's really interesting. So once again, Tim, thank you so much for talking us through all these complex issues, again as always we could go much deeper into, with no pun intended, much deeper into all of these issues and uncover more hot rocks. But let's close it out now with our end of the show question that we call the Top of the Stack.
So what's at the top of your literal or metaphorical reading stack that you think our listeners would enjoy. And I'll just start off with a really quick recommendation for an article I read in the New York Times a few days ago, or maybe it was a couple of weeks ago now. It was called “How the World's Largest Garbage Dump Evolved into a Green Oasis.” So it's about an enormous dump on Staten Island. It's about the size of lower Manhattan.
It received its last cargo in 2001, but it's basically been left untouched since then. And it's developed into this really interesting place where there's lots of wildlife activity and they're actually opening a park there in 2021 that'll expand over time. And it's just really interesting story about the use of a resource that we don't think of very much, which would be a landfill in a way that's actually quite beneficial. So I'd recommend checking that out. Great pictures too. So how about you, Tim? What's on the top of your stack?
Tim Latimer: Well, I'm going to give you a fiction recommendation if that's allowed in the rules.
Daniel Raimi: Yeah. Of course.
Tim Latimer: So a book trilogy that I finished recently that was knockout good, was the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K Jemisin. And it's a fascinating book, it's in the realm of sci-fi. And I can tell you part of the reason, if it's not clear from this conversation, you should know me as the geothermal guy. I definitely nerd out about geoscience topics and issues.
And I feel like the realm of sci-fi people like to talk about space and all these different things. And this is a book phenomenally done, N.K Jemisin is a great author. And it's kind of sci-fi but about Geoscience in a way that's really interesting and portrays a world of the future that I think has a ton of lessons for a lot of the questions we're wrestling with today when it comes to sustainability and power and what our world actually looks like that's quite fascinating.
So I think it's just an absolutely fun read but one that's going to make you think a lot about what the future looks like and how our relationship with our resources and environment look like. And finally, you can nerd out about geoscience, which is the most fun thing for somebody like me. So I would highly recommend anybody pick up that book trilogy. It's just phenomenal.
Daniel Raimi: That sounds fantastic. And first thing I thought of was Journey to the Center of the Earth. The Jules Verne novel has been made into various terrible movies over the years. But that sounds fantastic. Thanks so much for that recommendation.
Tim Latimer: You got it.
Daniel Raimi: So once again, Tim Latimer from Fervo Energy, thank you so much for joining us today on Resources Radio.
Tim Latimer: Thanks for having me. It's been great.
Daniel Raimi: You've been listening to Resources Radio. If you have a minute, we'd really appreciate you leaving us a rating or a comment on your podcast platform of choice. Also, feel free to send us your suggestions for future episodes. Resources Radio is a podcast from Resources for the Future. RFF is an independent nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC.
Our mission is to improve environmental energy and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. Learn more about us at rff.org. The views expressed on this podcast are solely those of the participants. They do not necessarily represent the views of Resources for the Future, which does not take institutional positions on public policies. Resources Radio is produced by Elizabeth Wason with music by me, Daniel Raimi. Join us next week for another episode.