The troubled and impoverished region of Central America is rich in one thing: volcanoes. Spurred by increasing demand for electricity, several countries are moving to transform the thundering mountains’ energy into watts. Geothermal plants can use the water heated by the molten earth beneath volcanoes to drive turbines. The plants are expensive to build, but, once built, they are long-lasting, reliable, and do less environmental damage than hydroelectric dams or fossil fuel sources.

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Guatemala, which already has two geothermal plants, is offering tax breaks on the equipment needed to build more in hopes of getting 60 percent of its power from a combination of geothermal and hydroelectric sources by 2022. Costa Rica already operates four plants and will bring a fifth online early next year; it’s considering an additional two. El Salvador and Nicaragua are also expanding geothermal power from volcanoes.

How about some international loans to support these encouraging developments?

Via Reuters

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