Friday, October 5, 2012

What is the source of geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is clean and renewable source of energy that refers to heat found in Earth’s core. The geothermal energy is basically a form of thermal energy that has its origin in radioactive decay of various minerals inside the Earth's core.

Geothermal energy belongs to renewable energy sources because Earth's heat is being constantly replenished. There is more than enough geothermal energy inside the Earth's core to satisfy entire global energy demand.

Harnessing geothermal energy isn't 100% emission free because geothermal wells release small amounts of greenhouse gases trapped deep within the earth's core. Nonetheless, this amount of greenhouse gases is negligible compared to greenhouse gas emissions generated by burning fossil fuels.

The source of geothermal energy is earth's heat that is being constantly replenished.
Geothermal energy industry is still far from being widely developed mostly because of the fact that current technologies aren't at adequate commercial level. If you look at the current geothermal energy development you can see that geothermal energy resources are being harnessed only around areas near the tectonic boundaries where drilling costs are minimal.

Geothermal power is being effectively harnessed in 24 of the world, and around one quarter of total global geothermal capacity refers to United States. United States has 77 geothermal power plants operating that are producing more than 3000 MW. Despite accounting for one quarter of global geothermal energy production United States gets only around 0,3% of its electricity from geothermal power.

Geothermal power as available 24-7 which isn't the case with solar and wind. This means that geothermal energy doesn't require backup energy solution like wind and solar do. Geothermal power plants have relatively low maintenance costs, and they do not need lot of water for cooling purposes like this is the case with many other energy sources. However, constructing geothermal power plant is still very expensive, primarily because of the drilling that accounts for more than half of total capital costs.

Geothermal energy capacity is constantly growing and many new countries are interested to add this renewable energy source to their energy portfolio. Technology and science are trying to bring down the high capital costs of geothermal energy and once this is achieved geothermal energy sector should achieve tremendous growth.