Fear of earthquakes halts promising geothermal projects

Not too long ago green energy activists hailed geothermal power as the best way to generate cheap, clean power with minimal environmental impact or carbon emissions. That view has been thoroughly shaken by incidents around deep-drilling geothermal projects linked to nearby earthquakes.

Now energy authorities fear that harvesting subterranean heat might not be quite as safe as originally thought. On September 2, AltaRock Energyhalted a $17 million pilot project in California that was a geothermal showpiece and a significant hope for quickly tapping geothermal energy to replace fossil fuels.