Geothermal Energy Potential in Oktibbeha County: Is Mississippi Really Hot?
Lindsey, Cary Ruth
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Geothermal energy is a clean, renewable, base load (always available) energy source. Advances in geothermal technology are making it possible to produce electricity at temperatures heretofore thought impossible. The last geothermal assessment of Mississippi was in 1976 and focused on extreme southern areas of the state. The conclusion of this assessment was positive, yet no further studies have been completed. Recent geothermal resource maps of Mississippi show the potential for thousands of megawatts of this unlimited energy source. This assessment focuses on Oktibbeha County in North Central Mississippi, an area of active fossil fuel production. Well logs were reviewed to gather bottom-hole temperatures, mathematically normalized and used to create a thermal gradient map of the county. The map shows temperatures exceeding 160°C, well above the 135°C needed for geothermal binary production, in western Oktibbeha County beginning at depths of around 4,000 meters.