Benefits of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth's geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%).The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface. The adjective geothermal originates from the Greek roots γη (ge), meaning earth, and θερμος (thermos), meaning hot.

At the core of the Earth, thermal energy is created by radioactive decay and temperatures may reach over 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5000 degrees Celsius). Heat conducts from the core to surrounding cooler rock. The high temperature and pressure cause some rock to melt, creating magma convection upward since it is lighter than the solid rock. The magma heats rock and water in the crust, sometimes up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit (370 degrees Celsius)

Benefits of Geothermal Energy

Renewable—Through proper reservoir management, the rate of energy extraction can be balanced with a reservoir's natural heat recharge rate.

Baseload—Geothermal power plants produce electricity consistently, running 24 hours per day / 7 days per week, regardless of weather conditions.

Domestic—U.S. geothermal resources can be harnessed for power production without importing fuel.

Small Footprint—Geothermal power plants are compact; using less land per GWh (404 mi2) than coal (3642 mi2) wind (1335 mi2) or solar PV with center station (3237 mi2).*

Clean—Modern closed-loop geothermal power plants emit no greenhouse gasses; life cycle GHG emissions (50 g CO2 eq/kWhe) are four times less than solar PV, and six to 20 times lower than natural gas. Geothermal power plants consume less water on average over the lifetime energy output than the most conventional generation technologies.**

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