from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2007
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Senator Estes praises new renewable energy options

Austin - Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and Coastal Resources, praised Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson for promoting geothermal energy leases in seven coastal counties and promoting Texas' use of renewable energies.

"Texas needs a diversified power generation strategy to meet our growing energy needs," said Senator Estes. "Power generation from wind, solar, and water have long been established players in the use of renewable fuels for alternative sources. And, now we are seeking to add the option of geothermal power."

On February 6, the Texas Land Commission announced the awarding of a geothermal energy lease to a private company to explore and develop geothermal power along the Texas coast. Geothermal power generation is the process of tapping the earth's natural heat sources such as deep hot water reservoirs to generate steam to drive turbines.

"The potential for geothermal power in this state and in this country are enormous, and may represent a vast untapped power reserve that is clean, reliable, and not dependent on foreign sources," said Estes. "Geothermal power alone will never be the answer to our energy needs, but combined with other renewable energy sources can help reduce our demand on fossil fuels."

The leases made available by the General Land Office make use of previously drilled oil and gas wells that allow access to underground sources of natural heat.

"Texas has long been a leader in the exploration and development of energy from traditional sources of oil, natural gas, and coal. And, now we are becoming a leader in renewable energies," said Estes. "Geothermal power generation is limited primarily by the depth needed to reaching heat sources below the surface. That is where the oil wells become a real advantage. In some cases, the holes are nearly completed."

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