What is Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal energy refers to the heat from the earth. It is sustainable and cheap. Resources from this source of energy range from hot water to the shallow ground and hot rock which is found a few miles under the surface of the earth, and even deeper to the high temperatures of magma. Almost in all places, the upper 10 feet or the shallow ground of the earth’s surface maintains close to between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius.

What is Geothermal Energy?

In regard to viability of geothermal energy, it is worthwhile to put into consideration the production costs linked to geothermal power plants. The costs are approximately 6.5 cents per kilowatt p-hour on average. These costs do not compare to natural gas and coal; however, geothermal energy has respectable costs as compared to other renewable sources of energy. Unlike wind and solar energy, geothermal energy is not intermittent and is not dependent on weather conditions which are the case for wind turbines and solar panels. This therefore gives it marvelous base load electricity. It is also very easy to predict amount of electricity generated from geothermal power plants since there is heat around the clock on the earth’s surface. This predictability is worthwhile in terms of reliable output when developing costly and long term projects as it provides certainty to investors as their worries about negative aspects are taken care of.

The capital costs of geothermal energy are also relatively low excluding the relatively high costs associated with drilling. The power plants typically warrant significantly less land in comparison to solar and wind energy projects. These plants are not harmful to the environment in comparison to coal or nuclear power facilities; besides, they warrant fewer permits which encourage investments in it.

what is gethoermal energy

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Pros of geothermal energy

  • It is almost totally emission free
  • Zero carbon
  • The process scrubs out sulfur which may have otherwise been produced.
  • Does not require fuel (no transportation or mining)
  • It is not subject to similar fluctuations as wind or solar
  • Virtually limitless supply
  • Inherently reliable and simple
  • Can provide peak power or base load
  • It is already cost competitive in certain regions
  • It can be constructed underground
  • Some level of geothermal energy is available in most places
  • New technologies have shown promise to employ lower temperatures
  • Smallest land footprint of all major power sources

Cons of geothermal energy

  • Prime sites are often very location-specific
  • Prime sites are usually away from population centers
  • Losses are incurred due to long distance of electricity transmission
  • Water usage
  • Involves high construction costs
  • Minimum temperature ranging from 350F+ is generally needed
  • Care must be taken not to overuse heat but to manage it
  • Emission of silicon and sulfur dioxide
  • Difficulty in drilling into heated rock

The future of geothermal energy looks bright, this is because geothermal energy capacity is on the rise and several plants are put in place all over the world. And because the basics of the technology have been understood for long and since they are relatively simple to build. Besides, this source of energy is the third or the fourth most vital source of energy behind wind, hydro and solar, more plants will be established in the future.

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