Where does my renewable energy source come from?
Geothermal reservoirs are naturally occurring areas of hydrothermal resources. They are deep underground and are largely undetectable above ground. Geothermal energy finds its way to the earth´s surface in three ways:
1. Volcanoes and fumaroles (holes where volcanic gases are released)
2. Hot springs
Geothermal energy comes also from volcanically active places such as Iceland and New Zealand.
Most of the geothermal power plants in the United States are located in western states and Hawaii, where geothermal energy resources are close to the earth´s surface.
Availability of this renewable energy source in my community (province, country).
In the Basque Country the geothermal energy is used in some towns and cities such as: Sondika, Basauri, Tudela, and Legazpi
The geothermal energy in the Basque Country can be used for heat up or for refreshing. The geothermal air conditioning has a lot of advantages; one of them is that it serves for heat up and also for refresh, being able to take advantage of the installation during all the year.
There´re also more advantages such as: it receives subsides, is ecological, clean and inexhaustible, it favors the energetic independence of the exterior, is the most efficient air condition that exists: of every unit of energy that it consumes, it generates five.
How does my renewable energy source work?
Hot rocks underground heat water to produce steam. We drill holes down to the hot region, steam comes up, is purified and used to drive turbines, which drive electric generators.
There may be natural “groundwater” in the hot rocks anyway, or we may need to drill more holes and pump water down to them.
What is the impact of this renewable energy source on the environment? (Include harvesting, using and what is left over)
The environmental impact of geothermal energy depends on how geothermal energy is used or on how it is converted to useful energy. Direct use applications and geothermal heat pumps have almost no negative impact on the environment. Direct use applications and geothermal heat pumps can actually have a positive effect because they may reduce the use of other types of energy that may have greater negative impacts on the environment.
What are the costs related to this renewable energy source?
1. According to studies, an economically competitive geothermal power plant can cost as low as $3400 per kilowatt installed. While the cost of a new geothermal power plant is higher than that of a comparable natural gas facility, in the long run the two are similar over time. This is because natural gas construction costs account for only one third of the total price of the facility, while the cost of the fuel at a natural gas facility represents two thirds of the cost. The initial construction costs of a geothermal facility, in contrast, represent two thirds or more of total costs. So although initial investment is high for geothermal, natural gas and geothermal are still economically comparable over a long term.
2. Geothermal energy generally involves low running costs since it saves 80% costs over fossil fuels and no fuel is used to generate the power.