Simply stated geothermal energy is power from the middle of our planet. The temperature at Earth’s center is close to 7200 degrees Fahrenheit. So, when taken this heat can produce huge amounts of sustainable energy.
Let’s learn the basics about geothermal energy.
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So here we go…
Two Ways Geothermal Energy Can Be Used
First, heat pump systems use heat from the Earth’s surface. Basically, an air system along with a heat exchanger buried in the groundwork together to pump heat into a building. Heat pumps work on the idea that it’s easier to move something than make something.
How does a Heat Pump Heat?
In the fall and winter, a heat pump pulls heat from the outside air into the home. In fact, a heat pump can pull enough heat from the outside air to heat a home to 70 degrees. It can do this as long as the outside air temperature is above 30. Also, heat pumps can pull in cooler air in the summer. This helps save money. It’s expensive to run traditional furnaces and air conditioners.
Second, geothermal heat can be used to make electricity. Power plants turn steam into energy using turbines. When the steam goes through the system it spins the turbine, which makes power. Not only that but, power plants can use geothermal energy to make hot water. Then cities can use the hot water for washing. Lastly, hot water can be used for heating buildings.
ADVANTAGES TO GEOTHERMAL ENERGY
Here are just a few:
Environmentally friendly – Limited pollution, the carbon footprint of geothermal power is small.
Renewable – Geothermal will last billions of years.
Amount and Availability – Provides a huge amount of energy. Anywhere in the world.
Stable resource – Geothermal energy is constant unlike solar or wind energy.
Great for Heating/Cooling – Can save homeowners money, 30-60% savings on heating, and 25-50% savings on cooling.
No fuel used – After installation, no mining or transportation is needed.
Small land footprint – Does not require large amounts of land.
Money-based factors – Can be low-priced to set up, or qualify for grants.
Potential emissions – Greenhouse gas below Earth’s surface can rise to the surface.
Surface Instability – The construction of large geothermal power plants can trigger an earthquake.
High cost for electricity – Set up cost can be higher than other forms of energy.
High up-front costs for heating and cooling systems – For an average-sized home, installation of heat pumps costs between $10,000 – $20,000.
Location Specific – Requires a special location
Distribution costs – If geothermal energy is moved long distances that increase costs.
Sustainability questions – Some experts question if other energy sources aren’t better.
Cost of Powering the Pump – heat pumps need a power source.
May Run Out of Steam – If the heat is not taken care of properly, it can cause a meltdown or other problems.
GEOTHERMAL RENEWABLE OR NONRENEWABLE
Geothermal energy is a renewable source of energy that can produce energy for as long as our planet exists. In fact, many countries looking ahead at the threats of climate change are adding more of these energy programs. Some such countries include the US, Iceland, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, and New Zealand.
Iceland is a country that has focused on clean energy production for years. In the past, Iceland needed coal for power after World War II. Unfortunately, burning coal led Iceland to have high air pollution. Since then, the county tries to use mostly clean energy, including geothermal energy. Recently, the Icelandic Energy Company stated,“…in the future we can produce more power in less area, with less environmental impact. And hopefully for less cost.”
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY AT HOME
Geothermal is a very reliable energy source. Also, running a heat pump costs little to run. So, geothermal heating and cooling are good choices for home use. In comparison to fossil fuels, like coal and oil, geothermal energy prices are more stable. Also, geothermal energy is more dependable than home solar or wind systems.
However, one of the biggest drawbacks is the start-up cost for a geothermal system. The cost is high. Overall, a home system costs between $10,000 to $20,000.