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Geologists test volcano as source for power


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POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2009

HILO » Could Hualalai mountain supply geothermal electricity to West Hawaii?

Geologists from Ormat Technologies Inc., which produces geothermal power in East Hawaii, have begun a year of studies to find the answer.

Drilling, if any, would be at midlevel, said engineer Paul Spielman with Ormat in Reno, Nev. Drilling high would force energy explorers to go through more rock, he said.

If useful heat is found, getting permits would take years.

Geologists looked at minerals and carbon dioxide in water wells, possibly dissolved by hot water, Spielman said. Tests are “;inconclusive,”; he said.

A state study in 2000 found a 35 percent probability of heat in Hualalai. “;We're in the very preliminary stages of exploration,”; Spielman said.