What About Using Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is used for electrical power production in 21 countries, and supplies significant amounts of electricity to countries such as the Philippines, where 27 percent of electricity derives from geothermal sources.
Geothermal energy is a mainstay of the Icelandic economy, and is also heavily exploited in the United States, with 43 geothermal plants. Geothermal energy is used for electric power generation and direct utilization in the United States.
Even so, this worldwide use represents only a fraction of the potential power that could be generated from geothermal resources. Geothermal energy is generally a highly localized resource, and the processes used to extract energy move at a much higher rate than the processes that restore energy into the geothermal environment.
Geothermal energy is put to work in many places around the world. The best known geothermal energy sources in the United States are located in western states and Hawaii. Geothermal energy is non-renewable. It is non-renewable because it takes millions of years for the earth’s heat to accumulate.
Geothermal energy is contained in underground reservoirs of steam, hot water, and hot dry rocks. As used at electric generating facilities, hot water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs in the Earth’s crust is supplied to steam turbines at electric utilities that drive generators to produce electricity.
While the overall costs of accessing geothermal power are higher than many fossil fuels, the costs continue to decline as the technology improves. Geothermal energy is considered to be
a clean, reliable source of energy.