In a time where global warming is a major issue, people look to all kinds of alternative energy sources. Wind, water, and solar power technologies are becoming more advanced in the world. But along with them comes the power from the earth itself – geothermal Energy. This energy is created from the heat of Earth.
Geothermal resources can be found anywhere between shallow ground, maybe a few feet below the surface, to hot water and rock several kilometers down. Sometimes, these resources can be found even deeper, all the way to the magma. Wells have been drilled over 1.5 kilometers deep, to tap steam and very hot water and bring it to the surface.
Because geothermal energy requires no fuel, it is pretty much emission-free. Because of this, it is not affected by the unstable costs of fuel. Also, since it does not rely on an on-and-off source, like wind energy, it can have a capacity factor of up to 90 percent.
The cost of land to build a geothermal power plant on is usually less expensive than the cost of land for other plants such as oil, gas, coal, or nuclear. This is due to space. A geothermal plant takes up very little room; therefore a large area of land is unnecessary. Also, because geothermal energy is cleaner, and does not contribute to pollution, tax cuts may be given and/or no environmental bills to comply with the countries’ carbon emissions scheme.
Once the geothermal plant is built, the energy is mostly free. Of course, some energy may be needed to run a pump, but it can always be taken from the generated energy.
Geothermal energy is, obviously, renewable. So long as the underground water and rocks remains hot, the energy will keep coming.
Because geothermal energy is taken from underground, sometimes thousands of feet down, this makes finding a suitable location difficult.
There is also the issue that a location that previously had been extracting stream may suddenly stop. In some cases, this can happen and last for up to 10 years.
Developers of geothermal power plants must keep in mind that harmful gases can escape from deep within the earth, through the holes drilled by the constructors. The plant must be able to contain any leaked gases, but disposing of the gas can be very tricky to do safely.
In short, geothermal energy is a possible solution to fossil fuels. However both the advantages and disadvantages must be weighed before it adopted as the choice solution. Either or, using geothermal energy may definitely help to reduce emissions in the atmosphere and aid in stopping climate change.
-By Almayra Porrata-Doria