Geothermal energy originates from the earth when it gets heated due to the hot rocks present under it or due to the fission of radioactive materials present inside its core. Some places inside the earth get extremely hot and are thus called hot spots. These hot spots cause water to form steam that gets pressurized to come out of the earth in the form of hot springs, and this generated energy is known as geothermal power.
Why it matters?
The major advantage of tapping geothermal energy is that it reduces emission of greenhouse gases and can lead to a non-polluted environment. This renewable source of energy does not cause any generation or wastage of byproducts and is thus very much environmentally friendly. This type of heat energy can directly be used in various applications, and it is also independent of weather changes. There is no special maintenance required for geothermal plants and they also help in protecting nature. Thus, geothermal energy is a versatile, sustainable and reliable form of power with lower carbon dioxide emissions and minimal environmental impact.
Though geothermal energy is a great plus for the environment, it has some lowdown aspects too. Firstly, there are limited sites that can be the potential sources of geothermal energy. Further, these sites are located away from cities and markets that have the most energy consumption requirements. Also, there is always a need to find such sources that may provide geothermal energy in abundance. If some source does not provide enough energy, the high costs of setting up the geothermal plant for extracting it would not prove to be justified. Additionally, a danger of volcano eruption is present at the source sites.
There are always some pros and cons associated with each type of energy. But, geothermal energy has some interesting usage aspects too. You would be surprised to know that it involves such low running costs that can save around 80% of costs spent on fossil fuels. There are hardly any plant maintenance, energy purchase or transportation costs involved with the use of geothermal power. It is, in fact, a great source of energy in places that volcanically active, including Iceland and New Zealand. In California, there are more than 30 geothermal power plants already producing over 90% of geothermal electricity in the U.S. By 2025, geothermal energy could be offering the U.S. over 30,000 MW of power.
Since geothermal energy is a sustainable and renewable form of energy, it can easily replace any non-renewable source of energy. The dependence on fossil fuels can be greatly reduced by its use. Also, there is no requirement of any fuels while the geothermal power is extracted. Several countries are adopting geothermal power to reduce their dependence on the constantly diminishing oil resources. Geothermal power also avoids any pollution in the environment as most of the fuel sources create. It is even better than solar energy in the sense that you would not require any major equipment to tap it. The running cost of a geothermal power plant is quite lower than any other power plant.
The bottom line
Thus, geothermal energy can be great future energy source as it keeps the environment clean and healthy. It is a green energy source that produces huge amounts of energy from a single source site. There are several types of economic benefits associated with the use of geothermal power. Its actual output over a period of time can be higher than any other source of energy. Thus, every country should orient itself toward tapping this huge and reliable energy source.