5 common geothermal energy myths debunked
Geothermal energy is safe, reliable and resides just beneath our feet. It can help meet U.S. energy demands by supplying power to our electric grid and can even be used to heat and cool homes and businesses.
So what are the facts about geothermal energy?
The U.S. Department of Energy targeted five common misunderstandings and reveals the truths about this natural resource.
Myth: We could run out of geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy and will never deplete. Abundant geothermal energy will be available for as long as the Earth exists.
Myth: Renewables cannot supply energy 24/7.
Geothermal power plants produce electricity consistently, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of weather conditions. The power output of a geothermal power plant is highly predictable and stable, thus facilitating energy planning with remarkable accuracy. Geothermal power plants are also an excellent means of meeting base load energy demand (i.e., the minimum level of demand on an electrical grid during a 24-hour period).
Myth: Geothermal power plants take up a lot of space.
Geothermal energy has the smallest land footprint of any comparable energy source in the world. They are compact and use less land per gigawatt hours (404 m2) than coal (3642 m2), wind (1335 m2) or solar photovoltaics plants (3237 m2).
Myth: Generating electrical power from geothermal sources causes pollution.
Electrical power does not, by its nature, create pollution. Modern closed-loop geothermal power plants used to generate electrical power do not emit greenhouse gases. Additionally, they consume less water on average than most conventional power generation technologies.
Myth: Geothermal energy is only accessible in certain parts of the United States.
Geothermal heat pumps can be used just about anywhere in the United States because all areas have nearly constant shallow ground temperatures — although systems in different locations will have varying degrees of efficiency and cost savings.
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