Geothermal energy is heat from within the earth. We can use the steam and hot water produced inside the earth to heat buildings or generate electricity.
Where is the geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is generated in the earth's core, about 4,000 miles below the surface
Geothermal energy can sometimes find its way to the surface in the form of:
boiling mud pools
Types of geothermal energy
The direct use of hot from the springs or reservoirs near the surface
Geothermal plants require high temperature that can come from either dry steam wells or hot water wells. We can drill wells into the earth and pipe the steam or hot water to the surface. Geothermal wells are one to two miles deep.
Geothermal heat pumps use the Earth's temperature to heat and cool buildings.
Geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective systems for temperature control
To be a renewable source the water must be injected back into the earths surface at a heat that does not effect the earth, It is crucial that this is done so there is no effect on the earth and our geothermal reservoirs.
What are the benefits of using geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is available 24 hours a day , 365 days a year
Geothermal power is local, reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
It's clean , energy can be extracted without burning a fossil fuel such as coal, gas, or oil.
Emissions are low. Only excess steam is emitted by geothermal plants.
No air emissions or liquids are discharged by geothermal plants
They release less than 1 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions of a fossil fuel plant.
Direct use and heating applications have almost no negative impact on the environment
Geothermal Plant at night
Is it possible to deplete geothermal reservoirs
The long-term sustainability of geothermal energy production has already been seen with a plant in Lardarello in Italy successfully running since 1913.
Wairakei field in New Zealand since 1958.
The Geysers field in California since 1960.
Initally there was some evidence of it effecting the geysers and resovoirs but with the water being injected back into the ground there is no effect on the environment.
Wairakei Fields NZ
New Zealand is known world-wide for its outstanding geothermal attractions and is the ideal place for geothermal power plants to be installed and successfully provide all of New Zealand with its energy. The Waikato already supplys 6.5% of New Zealands power supply from the geothermal plants. New Zealand attracts millions of tourists to it thermal resorts and thermal areas every year and these areas are protected by environment laws, which stops geothermal plants being built and protects our resources. This keeping New Zealand a prime tourist attraction.
Geothermal Plants in New Zealand
What would the impact of geothermal be in New Zealand
Geothermal plants are a way to help save our earth and can be done with little visual impact on communities and tourist spots. Geothermal power plants are relatively small and don't require storage, transportation, or combustion of fuels. These plants could be built in our thermal areas and blend in to the environment.
Is it a viable option
The cost to set up a geothermal power plant is expensive with all the consents, drilling costs, pipes etc. but in the long run pays for itself and provides a sustainable, renewable, efficent, environment friendly alternative that is cheaper to run than New Zealands current power stations which are having an effect on the environment. This type of energy can be offered to the consumer at a considerably lower price.
Also the cost to consumers doesn’t flucuate, as fossil fuel prices always go up and down depending on the demand. Geothermal energy would remain the same, because the running costs and cost to make the plants are already known.
With the right environmental laws put in place about
how the reinjection of the water and the extraction
is done, this is a great option for New Zealand.
Use of Geothermal Heatpumps
All New Zealand homes and the world should be using them, In 2004 over 1 million homes worldwide had one of these installed and it estimated to increase by 10% annually.This will make a major impact of our emmisssions, environment and global warming, they use 25%–50% less electricity than conventional heating.
The Earth remains at a constant temperature throughout the year, warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler in the summer, The geothermal heat pump transfers heat stored in the Earth into a building during the winter, and transfers it out of the building and back into the ground during the summer.