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Geothermal Energy

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(Geothermal energy plant at The Geysers near Santa Rosa in Northern California, Photo courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

"Bringing the Earth's Energy into Your Community -- (SMU)"

 

Geothermal Energy Basics

 

  • [SMU]: "As of 2013, geothermal energy provides more than 2700 megawatts (MW) of electric power to U.S. residents - comparable to 60 million barrels of oil per year, enough for 3.5 million homes. This is only a small fraction of the potential value of geothermal energy in the U.S. Geothermal electricity is clean, reliable and cost-effective. Geothermal electricity produced in the U.S. displaces the emission of 22 million tons of carbon dioxide a year! A geothermal plant's average system availability is 95% or higher, compared to 60-70% for coal and nuclear plants. The current cost of geothermal electricity ranges from $0.05 to $0.10 per kilowatt-hour, and technology improvements are steadily lowering that range. The average geothermal field uses 1-8 acres per megawatt (MW) versus 5-10 acres per MW for nuclear-operations and 19 acres per MW for coal power plants." 
  • [National Renewable Energy Laboratory]: "Geothermal energy, the heat from the earth, can be drawn from several sources: hot water or steam reservoirs deep in the earth that are accessed by drilling; geothermal reservoirs located near the earth's surface, and the shallow ground near the Earth's surface that maintains a relatively constant temperature of 50°-60°F. This variety of geothermal resources allows them to be used on both large and small scales. A utility can use the hot water and steam from reservoirs to drive generators and produce electricity for its customers. Other applications apply the heat produced from geothermal directly to various uses in buildings, roads, agriculture, and industrial plants. Still others use the heat directly from the ground to provide heating and cooling in homes and other buildings."

 

Useful Links

 

  • [The International Geothermal Association]: The International Geothermal Association (IGA), founded in 1988, is a scientific, educational and cultural organization established to operate worldwide. It has more than 5,200 members in over 65 countries.
  • [National Renewable Energy Laboratory]: Geothermal Energy Basics: Many technologies have been developed to take advantage of geothermal energy—the heat from the earth. This heat can be drawn from several sources: hot water or steam reservoirs deep in the earth that are accessed by drilling; geothermal reservoirs located near the earth's surface, mostly located in the western U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii; and the shallow ground near the Earth's surface that maintains a relatively constant temperature of 50°–60°F.

 

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