Enlarge / The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station. Geothermal power has long been popular in volcanic countries like Iceland, where hot water bubbles from the ground. (credit: Gretar Ívarsson/Wikimedia Commons)

Glistening in the dry expanses of the Nevada desert is an unusual kind of power plant that harnesses energy not from the sun or wind, but from the Earth itself.

Known as Project Red, it pumps water thousands of feet into the ground, down where rocks are hot enough to roast a turkey. Around the clock, the plant sucks the heated water back up to power generators. Since last November, this carbon-free, Earth-borne power has been flowing onto a local grid in Nevada.

Geothermal energy, though it’s continuously radiating from Earth’s super-hot core, has long been a relatively niche source of electricity, largely limited to volcanic regions like Iceland where hot springs bubble from the ground. But geothermal enthusiasts have dreamed of sourcing Earth power in places without such specific geological conditions—like Project Red’s Nevada site, developed by energy startup Fervo Energy.

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