IntroductionGeothermal energy is defined as a clean and maintainable source of heatand the resources has can range from 3 to 5 miles or less within the earth’slayers. It is formed due to radioactive decay that is located about 4,000 to5,000 miles deep at the earth’s core and in an area of extremely hightemperatures of molten rock called magma. In what is known asthe Paleolithic Era, which is a prehistoric period in history, this geothermalenergy was used as a means of taking a bath in a shallow reservoir and itwas later used to heat the living spaces of the ancient Romans. In today’ssociety the type of energy is better known to be part of the“Electricity Generation” which is the procedure of producing electricity fromother forms of energy.
California’s Geothermal EnergyA geothermal field in California that is known as “The Geysers” has thelargest collection of power plants in the world. The company of Pacific Gasand Electric used this dry steam field as an effective way to produce powersince the early 1960s. It produces on average 15 billion kilowatt hours ofpower per year, which is equivalent to using 25 million barrels of oil or even6 million tons of coal per year. Today that are 18 power plants in this areawhich are located just north of San Francisco that are on line and theyprovide enough energy to supply the needs of San Francisco as well as thecity of Oakland.
Iceland’s Geothermal EnergyThe country of Iceland is another region that also uses an abundance ofgeothermal energy in similar manners as the United States. Originallythe reservoirs were used for multiple purposes ever since the firstsettler name Ingólfur Arnarsson saw smoke rising from zones inReykjavík, Iceland. There are five major power plants that produceabout 30% of the countrys electricity needs which equates to theheating and hot water necessities for 87% of the nations homes.People of this area also use the energy for the heating of their ownswimming pools and as well as greenhouses.
Benefits• Geothermal energy consists of low running costs because it saves a high percentage in costs over fossil fuels and there is no fuel used to produce the power.• It reduces the dependence on fossil fuels with many countries pushing companies to accept these clean sources of energy because the burning of fossil fuels discharges greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.• Geothermal systems does not generate any type of pollution even though it releases some gases from deep within the earth they are not very damaging to the atmosphere.• Allows people to use this source of energy for taking bath, preparing food and for direct heating of homes and offices, this in turns makes it cheaper and inexpensive.• With the Government of numerous countries are participating in the creation of geothermal energy, this has created an large quantity of jobs for the local people.• It functions on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis regardless of an changing weather, which makes it very reliable.
Drawbacks• Since it is not widely used the availability of equipment, staff, and training pose is limited across the world which causes a serious problem when trying to implement geothermal energy worldwide.• The setting up of power plants and the process of getting steam from deep within the earth requires a very large investment which creates a high installation cost.• The sites that produce geothermal energy, based on the drop of temperature, over a period of time can run out of steam. This can also be done if too much water is used in the process of cooling the rocks.• It can only be suitable for areas that have an availability of hot rocks located below the earth’s surface and that can also produce steam over a extended period of time.• At the point that the energy is removed, it can be only used in the surrounding areas and cannot easily be transported to other regions.• Even though it is unlikely these sites may contain some poisonous gases that can escape through the holes that were drilled by the workers who construct the plants during any attempt at transportation.
ConclusionApproximately 1/2 of the worlds geothermal created electricity is produced by thepower plants located in California which is enough energy to supply about two millionhomes. This makes the pumps that are used in the homes very cost efficient andstudies have shown that approximately 70% of the energy used in any system isrenewable energy from the ground. Even though they might be a little costly at theinitial installation when compared to other heat pumps, in regards that the monthlyenergy bills they have known to be lowered from anywhere between 30% to 40%.Florida, which is the state in which I live, could definitely benefit from the use ofgeothermal energy. There are no immediate plans to take any drastic measures to tapinto this process which in my opinion literally a shame is considering that it candecrease our bills by 50%. Specialists have stated that geothermal energy can reducethe country’s dependence on foreign oil which would eventually help with economicdebt. Just the fact that it is cleaner, more resourceful, and more profitable thanburning fossil fuels is enough to consider increasing its use. In comparison to othersources of heat the ecological benefits of geothermal energy are clear because of thefact that it releases no greenhouse gas and does not create any contaminants. And themost important factor is that in contrast to fossil fuels, geothermal energy will alwaysbe available for use, what other source can say that?