Impacts of Energy Sources

Geothermal Energy

The factor needed to determine the ideal location of a geothermal power plant is a hot Earth location. The infrastructure (basic building facilities and installations) required to develop geothermal energy is a geothermal power plant to make power and the electrical grid for power distribution.

Advantages of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal plants are very reliable. During production the energy collected is free and does not require transport of fuels or disposal of waste products. Commercial geothermal power stations are relatively small and release very little air pollution compared to fossil fuel plants. Some plants even reduce sulfur emissions that would have naturally occurred from geothermal venting without a plant at that location by directing the steam and gasses through a scrubber. After the steam and water from a geothermal reservoir have been used, they are injected back into the earth to recharge the reservoir.

Geothermal heat pumps that are used in homes have almost no negative impact on the environment. There is only a temporary disruption in the soil surface when the system is installed. These heat pumps greatly enhance the efficiency of traditional heating and cooling heat pumps.

Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy

Large geothermal reservoir locations are limited. Geothermal power is only available in a few places where hot magma finds its way close to the surface and heats ground water to near boiling temperatures.

In already built homes, geothermal heat pumps require an initial expense. It may cost thousands of dollars to dig out the land and install a heat pump system.



Back to Student Resources