According to the US Department of Energy, Geothermal energy is a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Harvesting geothermal energy produces only ⅙ of the carbon dioxide as producing fossil fuels. From an economic standpoint, installing a geothermal small power plant costs between $3000 to $5000/kWe, and power is sold at $0.05 per kWh. This is relatively cheap, considering the average price of electricity in New York State is $0.18 per kWh, according to NPR. Three different techniques are used to harvest geothermal energy at power plants: dry steam, flash steam and binary cycle.
Currently, Geothermal energy is primarily available in western US states, Alaska, and Hawaii. However, geothermal heat pumps can be used to tap geothermal energy almost anywhere on Earth. Major sources of geothermal energy such as magma and hot dry rock will be able to be tapped with future technological developments. It can be easily implemented into communities with no visual impacts considering, “Geothermal power plants use relatively small acreages, and don’t require storage, transportation, or combustion of fuels.” (energy.gov) Geothermal is an extremely sustainable source because it relies on the heat generated at Earth’s core, which is almost unlimited. The water treated to make geothermal energy can be recycled and reused after harvesting as well. Hence, geothermal energy is clean, safe, and renewable, and should be further developed as it is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
You bring up some really good points in your post! Do you think that while geothermal energy primarily exists in the western part of the country will exist everywhere soon? It is clear that geothermal energy is extremely environmentally friendly and proves to be a good alternative that is relatively cheap. I did my post on wave energy and one major issue with it is the fact that it is so costly, so it is good to see that there are other methods of sustainable energy that are more affordable.
Wow Jane, great Post. I never knew anything about geothermal energy. I wonder why it is not used more. The fact that stood out most to me was that “Harvesting geothermal energy produces only ⅙ of the carbon dioxide as producing fossil fuels”. Based on the amount of pollution it causes and its easy accessibility I think that The us should do everything in its power to incorporate more sustainable alternatives like this one.