MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: What are the dangers or problems of Geothermal Energy?

Date: Thu Apr 13 00:52:08 2000
Posted By: Denni Windrim, Staff, science, Sylvan Learning Centre
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 951751388.En

Geothermal energy is probably one of the safest and most reliable sources of 
energy, outside solar energy. It is reliable (the source of heat, the Earth 
itself, is relatively constant), and hazard, in terms of unwanted waste 
products or catastrophic accidents, is nonexistent. The primary problem is 
that only a few places on Earth can provide accessible geothermal energy at 
a reasonable cost. Iceland, which sits on a plate boundary, makes extensive 
use of geothermal energy to heat homes and offices. In the central US, a 
geothermal project would be prohibitively expensive, since it would involve 
drilling a very deep well, and pumping water down to be heated. This would 
involve the use of some kind of conventional power, and the net effect would 
be few (or no) dollar savings in producing heat. Geothermal energy, 
therefore, is safe and clean, but practical only in locations where the 
Earth's internal energy emerges at or close to the Earth's surface with 

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