The advantages of geothermal energy are many for both consumers and commercial purposes. It is a clean, efficient, long lasting form of energy. Since there are no fuels being burned, it is a constant non-pollutant source of energy that needs no renewing.
Geothermal energy is produced by tapping into the natural heat produced by the Earth's core. It can be used in a home setting through the use of piping buried a few feet underground in conjunction with a heat pump. It can also be used as the source of power for commercial power plants when drilled into the earth's crust. Cold water is pumped into a tubing system, is heated by the earth's core, and returns to the surface hot. This water is used to drive a steam turbine and generator.
There are several reasons that consumers choose to use geothermal systems in their homes. The utility bills for home energy runs 30-70% cheaper than standard heating and cooling systems. Although the systems can be quite expensive to install, this cost is recuperated in most cases in three to five years through the utility savings it offers.
Another of the advantages of geothermal energy is the life span of the system. Most come with a standard 25 to 50 year warranty, but are expected to last 50 to 200 years. A standard furnace is only expected to last 20-30 years, so the replacement costs are less as well.
For those wishing to live a green lifestyle, there are environmental advantages of geothermal energy. The fluids in the pump are biodegradable, non-toxic, and non corrosive. They are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the most energy efficient and environmentally clean options available for home heating and cooling.
The systems run on a minimal amount of electricity. Some electric companies offer special rates for home users of geothermal energy since it saves the electric plants power during the times of the year of highest usage. Another of the financial advantages of geothermal energy is that the federal government in the United States gives tax credits to those who install one of these systems.
The advantages of geothermal energy in the commercial power plant industry are similar to those in the private sector. Geothermal power plants release approximately 1-3% of the carbon dioxide emissions and 97% less acid rain than a fossil fuel plant. They also take up significantly less space from an acreage standpoint.
The plants run for significantly less money. There are no fuels to burn, so there is no additional cost for fossil fuels and no rate changes as the cost of fuels rise. Tax breaks are offered to low-pollution plants, so these savings can be transferred to the consumer. These clean, efficient, and overall less wasteful plants seem to be the future of power transmission.