One of the big arguments of the anti-environmentalists, oil company lobbyists, or what have you, is that solar and wind, the most commonly mentioned renewable energy sources, aren’t available 24×7 (at any one location). They can’t provide so called “base-load” power.
On the other hand, we’ve got this rumbling at the east side of the Yellowstone caldera, possibly the world’s largest super volcano, and it’s threatening to awaken. We know there is a huge pool of magma, scientists say 4 miles or so down.
It’s powering geysers and hot springs all over the park. At times the land has become hot enough to set vegetation on fire and kill animals in the area.
Seems to me Yellowstone is situated pretty good to supply electricity to the nations grids; extend the eastern grid over with some high voltage DC lines, and tie it into the western grid.
Then build some BIG geo-thermal plants; the more heat we can remove from that potential disaster the better. If Yellowstone has a major eruption, the US is largely toast and a good portion of the worlds population will starve to death. The present day economic grief will seem like a picnic.
We don’t have to drill all the way to the magma, just down to rock hot enough to turn water into superheated steam to run turbines. The more heat we can extract the better. Chances are slim that we’ll make a big impact on a heat source of that size even if we power the entire country off of it; but if it slows the potential for an eruption at all great, and if not it’s still non-fossil fuel renewable energy that can be obtained without any technological breakthroughs. It’s heat the would have escaped anyway so might as well have it do some useful work while making it’s escape. Any volcanic gases vented would have vented anyway.