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ohthatpatrick
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Q7 - Geothermal power plants produce power using heat

by ohthatpatrick Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:47 pm

Question Type:
Explain/Resolve (or Strengthen-Claim)

Stimulus Breakdown:
Advocates: most areas in the near future will have the option of affordable geothermal power,
DESPITE THE FACT THAT geothermal plants are currently only possible in limited areas of the world, where we can drill down to underground reservoirs of hot water.

Answer Anticipation:
GIVEN THAT we can currently only reach geothermal reservoirs by drilling in small areas of the world,
HOW CAN WE SUPPORT THE CONTENTION THAT this power will be available in most areas soon?

We generally don't try to predict answers to Explain/Resolve Paradox questions, but here the ideas that come to my mind are
1. What if in the near future we're way better at drilling, so more areas are eligible?
2. What if in the near future we can reach more geothermal reservoirs by a means other than drilling, so we're not limited like before?
3. What if the power plants continue to be localized in limited areas but the power supply is available in most areas because it's easy to transport geothermal power?

Correct Answer:
D

Answer Choice Analysis:
(A) Pollutants are totally OUT OF SCOPE and don't get us from "currently: limited areas" to "near future: most areas".

(B) Amount of energy produced is OUT OF SCOPE and doesn't get us from "limited areas" to "most areas".

(C) This goes the WRONG DIRECTION. It sounds like geothermal plants are unlikely to be created, so that makes it harder to go from "limited areas" to "most areas"

(D) YES, here is a change that makes geothermal energy a more likely prospect. The current limitations of where we can drill will soon be transcended by new drilling technology, so we can see how me might go from "limitd areas" to "most areas".

(E) Something that makes ALL power plants more economical would not benefit geothermal in any "special" way that would represent a game changer. And beyond economics, this doesn't speak to the technological hurdle that we can currently only reach a limited number of areas by drilling, so how are we going to branch out to "most areas"?

Takeaway/Pattern: It's pretty unimportant whether people understand this as an Explain the Surprise task or as a Strengthen the Claim task. In either case, you need a reason for why we should believe we geothermal energy is likely to expand in availability and affordability. (D) gives us a positive change about geothermal energy that addresses both our ability to access geothermal energy and whether or not it will be an economical form of energy.

#officialexplanation
 
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Re: Q7 - Geothermal power plants produce power using heat

by JasonB370 Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:09 am

This answer doesnt make sense to me. Nowhere does the premise state that there are more opportunities deeper...it mentions nothing of how deep a well need be or if we are currently limited by depth. Further, the conclusion doesn't specify that geothermal will be more available in relation to other power plant types, just that it will available in more areas. What am I missing here
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Re: Q7 - Geothermal power plants produce power using heat

by ohthatpatrick Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:38 pm

I think you're just looking for Strengthen/Explain answers to be more bulletproof than they need to be.

The correct answer doesn't have to guarantee you the conclusion. It just has to make the conclusion more likely.

If there is new drilling technology coming out that allows us to reach places we've never reached (at a still-economical price tag), then it seems more likely that we'll be able to expand our range of geothermal plants

Do we know for sure that drilling deeper will give access to new underground reservoirs of hot water or steam? Nope.

Is it fairly plausible that being able to drill deeper would allow us to access new underground reservoirs of hot water or steam? Sure.

That's the only bar we're trying to clear here.

You said the conclusion had nothing to do with the affordability of geothermal power relative to other power types, but by saying "economical" power from geothermal power will be available in most areas, the author IS referring to cost-effectiveness / efficiency.

Remind yourself with Strengthen / Weaken / Explain that you're just looking for the best available answer. It doesn't have to prove the advocate's contention; it only has to help us believe the advocate's contention more than any other answer does.

Do you think any other answer is more helpful?