volcano = geothermal energy
Japan’s Mount Fuji taken by Arkkrapol Anantachote

What is Renewable Energy?

So let’s begin with what renewable energy is, do you already know?

Renewable energy is usable energy derived from a source which is not depleted or reduced despite being withdrawn from, like energy that is derived from the Sun (solar energy) or energy that is derived from the wind (wind power) or energy that is derived from the rivers (hydroelectric power), for examples.

What is Non-renewable Energy?

The alternative to renewable energy is non-renewable energy which presents itself in the form of fossil fuels. Non-renewable energy sources were formed more than 300 million years ago from plants and animals; when plants and animals died their decomposed remains were buried beneath the Earth and geological processes which occurred across millions of years transformed them.  Those remains reformed and became coal, natural gas and oil, all of which contain carbon.  Fossil fuels contain carbon and add carbon dioxide and other gases into the Earth’s atmosphere when they are burned to produce the energy that we enjoy.

As non-renewable sources of energy, the quantity of fossil fuel volumes decreases with their consumption.  The decrease increases the importance and the demand for the fossil fuel supplies that remain, to gradually increase the common interest in fossil fuels.

The increased interest in fossil fuels probably explains the pricing of fuels for motor transport, the pricing of energy for households and companies and the interests in land where crude oil is known to have a presence.

The cycle which increases the interest in fossil fuels is likely to continue until fossil fuel energy becomes far less important than it is today, but that cycle is unlikely to be changed before energy that is derived from sources besides fossil fuels are far more available and accessible to energy consumers and energy suppliers than is currently the case.

The Definition of Geothermal

“Geothermal” is a descriptive term; it describes heat that originates beneath the Earth’s surface.

The Definition of Geothermal Energy

“Geothermal energy” is a term for the energy that is derived from heat which originates beneath the Earth’s surface.

How Geothermal Energy Works

Beneath the Earth’s surface exist thick layers of liquid rock.  Within these thick layers, random pockets of water that tend to spring to the Earth’s surface as hot springs also exist.  Where water has been unable to make its way to the surface, it can sometimes be accessed by drilling.  This hot water itself can be used as a virtually free source of energy, directly as water, steam and heat or indirectly by converting its energy into electricity.

A geothermal pump is able to collect and distribute geothermal energy present within the upper 10 feet (3 metres) of the Earth’s surface, to keep a home warm during the winter, and is also able to withdraw heat from a building during the summer, to deliver it to the ground.

There are three kinds of geothermal energy power plants, they are known as “the dry steam geothermal power plant”, “the flash steam geothermal power plant” and “the binary cycle geothermal energy plant”.

Dry steam“, which is the oldest type of geothermal technology, withdraws steam from fractures in the ground and relies on it directly to drive a turbine. Flash plants withdraw deep, high-pressured hot water to place it amongst cooler less-pressured water (in a process that produces steam). The steam is used to drive a turbine. Binary plants place withdrawn hot water with a fluid which has a significantly lower boiling point than water, causing the secondary fluid’s state to become a vapour, and that vapour is relied on to drive a turbine.

Geothermal energy is non-polluting, relatively cheap and unlike solar energy and wind energy, geothermal energy is always available – 365 days per year.

Geothermal Energy Companies

A few of the word’s geothermal companies

Company NameCountry PresenceWebsite
Calpine CorporationUSAClick Here
Fuji Electric Co. LtdJapanClick Here
General ElectricUSAClick Here
Geothermal Engineering LtdUKClick Here
Green Energy Geothermal PowerCanada, Iceland, Kenya and UKClick Here
GT EnergyUKClick Here
Ormat TechnologiesUSAClick Here

Countries that use Geothermal Energy

A few of the countries where geothermal energy is used to create electricity:







New Zealand



United States of America

Geothermal Energy Facts

Electricity generated from geothermal energy was first produced in Larderello (Italy) in 1904.

History reports that geothermal energy was first used over 10,000 years ago in regions of today’s North America by a people now known as the American Paleo-Indians who used the energy from hot springs for cooking, bathing and cleaning.  Despite the report, because hot springs are so useful and because they are located in many different parts of the world where humans have lived, it is possible and likely that geothermal energy was being used by humans long before 10,000 years ago when people in North America were noticed for the first time.  Geothermal energy has been available for human use since the existence of hot water springs.

Geothermal energy produces 2.72% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by coal and 6.95% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by natural gas

Geothermal energy produces 4.65% of the sulphur dioxide emissions produced by natural gas and 0.001% of the sulphur dioxide emissions produced by coal

Geothermal energy is relied on in over 20 countries. The United States is thought to be the world’s largest geothermal energy producer and is thought to have the largest geothermal field.

Tapping into geothermal energy sometimes leads to the release of a gas known as hydrogen sulfide which doesn’t smell very nice, there is also a risk of discovering toxic waste.

Geothermal sites can provide energy for decades but they may also cool down after some time.

It is predicted that most geothermal power plants will be the binary kind in the future.

Consolidation of the Information

Putting together the various pieces of information mentioned above it might now be clear to you that geothermal energy could provide for the energy needs of all the Earth’s inhabitants, endlessly. The Earth itself has more than enough energy for us to convert into electricity.

If we were all to adopt geothermal energy for our power, the Earth would have far less of a need for fossil energy, if any at all, which means that we would effectively clean the Earth’s atmosphere from pollutants for much cleaner air.

A global reliance on geothermal energy would decrease the world’s interest in fossil fuel energy and fossil fuels, so that fossil fuel prices could decrease and also so that the possession of land that features fossil fuel resources is also of no interest.

Geothermal energy is one of a few special renewable energy kinds and might be best for us if we rely on the other special kinds too.

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