When you say geothermal energy, a lot of people don’t even know what that is. Hence, all the misconceptions. The truth is geothermal energy is safe, reliable, and can be found just under our feet. It’s a great source to help the United States meet its growing energy demand and power our electric grid.
So, what is geothermal energy, and what are the facts about it?
According to Renewable Energy World, geothermal energy is the heat from the Earth. It's clean and sustainable. Resources of geothermal energy range from the shallow ground to hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the Earth's surface, and down even deeper to the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma.
What are the misconceptions about geothermal energy?
Myth number one: We’ll run out of geothermal energy
This won’t be true as long as the center of the earth remains hot magma. And if that’s no longer the case, our lack of geothermal energy will be the least of our worries. The truth is geothermal energy is a renewable energy source and will never go away.
Myth number two: Geothermal power plants take up a ton of space
Yes, they may seem big, but when you look at the numbers, you get a different story. When you compare land consumption per gigawatt hour, geothermal energy blows the competition out of the water. It has a smaller gigawatt/hour footprint than coal, solar and wind!
Myth number three: Geothermal energy plants cause pollution.
Modern closed-loop geothermal power plants don’t emit greenhouse gasses. They consume less water than other power generation technologies and they create very little waste as they generate electrical power. I’d say that’s pretty good compared to other energy production methods and technologies.
Myth number four: Geothermal energy is only found in certain areas of the U.S.
It is true that depending on where you live, there are varying degrees of efficiency and cost savings when it comes to geothermal energy, but geothermal heat pumps can be used most anywhere in the United States because all areas generally have constant shallow-ground temperatures.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office is currently working on an initiative to bring geothermal-powered electricity to regions across the United States. Although we’re still early in the game, the technologies they are creating and developing are promising and have the potential to power tens of millions of U.S. homes and businesses in the future.