Price of Power

Another of those places you go by and wonder…off I-80 and near the old Central Pacific tracks is Beowawe.  It used to have the largest geyser field in the U.S. outside Yellowstone.  Nevada considered making it a state park in the 1950s but rejected the idea: the area was considered too remote despite being on the main route east from Reno. It was later developed for geothermal power, which unsurprisingly destroyed the natural geothermal system.  Below is a photo of Beowawe taken in 1991 with the power plant in the background.

Fossil geothermal feature and Beowawe geothermal plant, 1991

Fossil geothermal feature and Beowawe geothermal plant, 1991

And here is a pool in Yellowstone to perhaps give an idea of what this might have looked like

A pool in Yellowstone that might have resembled the Beowawe pool.

A pool in Yellowstone that might have resembled the Beowawe pool.

There is a YouTube video of the geysers at Beowawe in the 1970s before the geothermal development. (Steamboat Springs south of Reno has similarly been crippled by geothermal development, though it was never as interesting as Beowawe).

One day, maybe once we have fusion power or solar-power-generating roadways or solar power paint (all being developed), we can hope that we will shut down systems like Beowawe and, if we are lucky, we will get back some of the magic we snuffed out of the world….

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