Geothermal Power


The earth contains a lot of energy in the form of heat. This energy is called geothermal energy, „geo“ meaning earth and „thermal“ meaning heat. People should be looking for more renewable energy resources throughout the world because of the shortage of fossil fuels and the harm these fuels do to the environment.

Geothermal energy is the biggest clean and renewable energy resource on earth. It does not cause pollution because no fuel is burned and no harmful chemicals are released into the environment. The amount of energy stored as geothermal energy in the earth is so huge that humans can not possibly use it up – not even in millions of years. Even if this energy resource were to get depleted the suns energy that always shines on the earth just gets absorbed through the ground and replaces it. At the moment we even have a bit too much heat due to global warming so it might be quite a good idea to use some of it.

People have been using geothermal energy for almost 100 years now. The first geothermal power plant was in Italy and soon others were built in countries like Iceland, Turkey New Zealand and the United States. At present only a small percentage of electricity is derived from geothermal energy (5% in the US and even less worldwide). The countries that produce the highest percentage of geothermal electricity are Iceland and EL Salvador with an average of 25%. There is huge potential in many countries to use more geothermal energy. Especially Australia, there are plans to build geothermal power plants in Australia.

There are three main types of geothermal power plants all of which use steam to drive turbans. As technology progresses, it will become easier and more cost effective for governments to install geothermal power plants.

According to a 2005 ENEL report, geothermal power supplies 8900 MW to 24 countries worldwide. Geothermal power today meets the total electricity needs of some 60 million people worldwide – roughly the population of the United Kingdom.

Since 2000, geothermal generation has tripled in France, Russia, and Kenya. Three new countries-Austria, Germany, and Papua New Guinea-have been added to the list of those producing power. Countries as diverse as the Philippines, Iceland, and El Salvador generate an average of 25 percent of their electricity from geothermal sources, and geothermal serves 30 percent of Tibet’s energy needs. The United States continues to produce more geothermal electricity than any other country, comprising some 32 percent of the world total.

In 2005, 72 countries reported utilizing geothermal power for direct uses, providing over 16,000 MW of energy. Geothermal energy is used directly for a variety of purposes, including space heating, snow melting, aquaculture, greenhouse production, and more.