Renewable Energy

What makes geothermal energy clean?
Answered by Science Channel
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    Science Channel

  1. Geothermal energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy because it releases very little carbon dioxide, just a fraction of what fossil fuels produce. Likewise, it produces no other gases, such as nitrous oxide or sulfur [source: U.S. Department of Energy]. Geothermal energy requires very little effort to bring the energy source to the power plant, so the energy costs to transport or process geothermal energy are quite low. Lastly, geothermal energy is a fully renewable and sustainable resource. The water that creates the energy ultimately returns to the Earth, where it can be used again. Reykjavik, Iceland, is considered to be one of the cleanest cities in the world, owing this honor largely to the fact that it uses geothermal energy to heat 95 percent of its buildings [source: International Geological Congress Oslo].

    Geothermal energy is becoming more common in the United States, as well. Of the approximately 7,000 megawatts of geothermal energy used in the world, about 2,700 of these are produced in the U.S. [source: Geothermal Education Office]. The state of Texas is becoming known as a major producer of geothermal energy. Formerly a major oil-producing state, Texas is particularly well-suited to revive its energy industry by focusing on geothermal energy. The greatest obstacle to accessing geothermal energy is the high cost of drilling the wells.

    Because of Texas's history of oil production, the scores of abandoned gas fields have numerous wells already drilled. Some believe these fields can be transformed into engineered geothermal systems for much less cost than building new ones from scratch. The rocks underneath the wells are conducive to creating geothermal energy because they are already porous, so they shouldn't need further cracking, which can also lower start-up costs of geothermal systems.

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