The Benefits of Geothermal Energy

The debates around renewable sources of energy have been going on at least a decade. After more than a century of relying on fossil fuels almost entirely, changing this paradigm in favor of the renewable energy sources may seem difficult and unjustified for some people. However, the situation when fossil fuel was the most efficient and the cheapest source of energy has been left far in the past; nowadays, it is obvious that using oil or gas is not just expensive, but also causes tremendous damage to the planet we live on. Many countries such as Germany or Sweden have already made significant efforts to fix this situation, employing numerous power plants working on the renewable sources of energy; the most effective among these sources is geothermal energy. Using it has a number of benefits which should be considered by the governments globally.

Geothermal energy—and in particular, the prices on it—does not depend on the world’s economic and political situation as strongly as fossil fuels do.
Besides, extracting and transporting fossil fuel adds up to the price of energy produced from it. In its turn, geothermal energy is much cheaper than conventional ones, involving low running costs and saving up to 80% of costs over fossil fuels (CEF).

Environmental friendliness is another benefit of geothermal energy. Being a renewable source, it definitely produces less waste and pollution than conventional energy sources; the exact indexes, however, depend on the systems used for producing geothermal energy. In so-called open-loop geothermal systems, carbon dioxide makes up about 10% of air emissions; an even smaller percentage of emissions is methane. Overall, open-loop geothermal systems produce 0.1 pounds of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases per kilowatt-hour of the energy produced. In closed-loop systems, the greenhouse gases are not released into the atmosphere, although a relatively small amount of such emissions can be produced during a geothermal power plant’s construction. For a comparison, a power plant producing electricity from gas releases up to 2 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour into the atmosphere, and those power plants that work on coal produce an astonishing 3.6 pounds of greenhouse gases per kilowatt-hour of energy produced. As it can be seen, even less advanced open-loop geothermal systems are much cleaner and safer for ecology than the power plants working on conventional energy sources (UCS).

Low maintenance costs make yet another reason why using geothermal power plants should be a priority for many countries. Geothermal heat pump systems require 25% to 50% less energy for work compared to the conventional systems for heating or cooling. Besides, geothermal equipment is less bulky, so it requires less space: due to the very nature of geothermal energy (which is extracted from the bowels of the planet), geothermal power plants have only a few moving parts, all of which can be easily sheltered inside a relatively small building. This is not to mention that the life span of geothermal equipment is rather long: up to 50 years for pipes, and up to 20 years for pumps (GreenMatch). All this makes geothermal power stations easy to build and maintain.

As it can be seen, using geothermal energy is more effective than energy produced from conventional sources of energy. Geothermal energy is cheaper, less harmful for the environment, and power plants producing it are easier to build and maintain. These factors make geothermal energy a reasonable and effective alternative to energy produced from fossil fuels, so the governments of the world should consider converting their industries to work on geothermal energy.

Works Cited

  1. “Advantages of Geothermal Energy.” ConserveEnergyFuture. N.p., 20 Jan. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
  2. “Environmental Impacts of Geothermal Energy.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
  3. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy.” GreenMatch. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

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