Alternative Energy: Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is one of the many forms of alternative energy that could help solve the climate crisis.

Essentially, it harnesses the heat from the Earth in order to generate power and electricity. Like wind power, geothermal energy has been used worldwide for thousands of years. For instance, hot springs were used by both Romans and Native Americans.

Geothermal energy is a powerful and sustainable solution for combating climate change. It harnesses the Earth's internal heat to generate electricity and provide direct heating, offering a reliable and consistent energy source with a minimal carbon footprint. Unlike fossil fuels, geothermal energy produces very low levels of greenhouse gas emissions, making it an environmentally friendly alternative. Utilizing geothermal energy reduces our dependence on carbon-intensive energy sources, thereby helping to mitigate global warming. Additionally, geothermal power plants have a small land footprint and can operate 24/7, providing a stable and efficient energy supply. By investing in and expanding the use of geothermal energy, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support sustainable development, and move towards a cleaner, more resilient energy future.

How Electricity is Often Produced

In order to generate electricity, water is often heated into steam which then runs through a turbine.

Examples of these include nuclear power, coal and natural gas.

However, with this new form of alternative energy, steam could be created from the heat of the Earth without generating any greenhouse gases or risking a nuclear disaster.

Countries Using This Energy

Already, there are more than twenty countries currently using this new technology including Iceland, the United States, Japan, Italy, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

Geothermal energy is a revolutionary form of alternative energy

How it Works

There are many different ways in which this energy is captured.

Firstly, by drilling deep into the ground, hot water where the earth is porous (has space for liquids) can be extracted through specialized equipment in order to create steam which will subsequently turn turbines.

However, if there is no water present, an enhanced geothermal system can be established. This method produces electricity.

Secondly, the hot geothermal water could be used directly for agriculture, district heating, heating pools (i.e. hot springs), and laundries, to name a few. This is also known as direct-use geothermal.

Geothermal energy uses the heat from the Earth

Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy

With our current technology, this form of alternative energy is only efficient in certain countries.

More specifically, there is a lot of geothermal potential in the Ring of Fire, an area of high tectonic activity that circles the Pacific. In this area, large amounts of heat rise to the Earth’s surface.

Moreover, drilling is very expensive thus the price of harnessing this energy source increases exponentially with depth.

However, due to a lack of funding and political will, certain countries are not developing this new technology despite their available geothermal resources.

Nonetheless, as technology advances, the expense of drilling will be reduced and the efficiency of geothermal power plants will be improved.

Geothermal power plants can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Advantages of Geothermal Energy

As mentioned before, geothermal energy does not require the use of fossil fuels and is a form of renewable energy that is clean as well as reliable.

In fact, the first geothermal power plant which started in 1904 is still operational. Moreover, these power plants provide a steady flow of power as they operate for more than 95% of the year.

In Iceland, geothermal energy is used for 87% of its heating and over 25% of its electricity.

Over a quarter of Iceland’s energy is produced from geothermal power

An Important Alternative Energy Source

In order to build a sustainable future, we need to use more alternative energy sources.

Clearly, countries should not neglect geothermal resources, and must require more political will in order for change to take place.

Right now, the best way to help develop more geothermal power plants is to raise awareness as that will inevitably place more pressure on governments to take action.

Although we cannot depend solely on this type of energy due to the scarcity of geothermal potential, it is an important alternative energy source that can lead us to a more sustainable future.

Geyser and Hotspring pools, Iceland

Call to Action: Invest in Geothermal Energy

The future of our planet depends on the sustainable choices we make today. Investing in geothermal energy is not just a smart financial decision but a crucial step towards mitigating climate change. By harnessing the Earth's natural heat, we can generate clean, renewable energy that drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels. Imagine a world where our energy needs are met without compromising the health of our environment. Geothermal energy offers a stable and efficient energy source that works around the clock, providing continuous power while safeguarding our natural resources. Now is the time to act. Support policies that encourage geothermal development, advocate for its adoption in your community, and consider geothermal solutions for your home or business. Together, we can make a significant impact and pave the way for a sustainable, energy-independent future. Let's harness the power beneath our feet to create a cleaner, greener world for generations to come.

Further Reading and Sources

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