There have been much talk about climate change and now there is a search for feasible renewable energy sources. When it comes to renewable energy, the first thing, which pops up, is solar, wind, and water energy. Only a few have heard about geothermal energy and are aware about its working. The word ‘geothermal’ has been derived from two words ‘geo’, which means earth and ‘thermal’, which means heat. In other words, geothermal energy originates from inside the earth. Since Paleolithic times, geothermal energy has been used for bathing. Romans used it for space heating. However, in modern times, geothermal energy is known for generating electricity and heating capacity. Today, it is widely installed for district heating, space heating, spas, industrial processes, and agricultural applications. Geothermal energy is a clean, sustainable, cost effective, and environmental friendly source of energy. Can a renewable natural energy have some disadvantages? Some believe that there are many disadvantages of using geothermal energy whereas some say pros outweigh the cons in case of geothermal energy. Here are some pointers, which will help you in knowing the pros and cons of geothermal energy.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Geothermal Energy
Pros Of Geothermal Energy
- Since time immemorial, geothermal energy has been used by people for direct purposes like cooking meals, taking baths, and heating buildings or homes. Today, geothermal energy is commonly used for heating buildings through direct heating systems. These systems pipe hot water from the surface of the earth into buildings and are available for immediate use.
- Burning fuels for energy has harmful impact on environment with their emissions. The drastic effects have also resulted in acid rains. Usage of geothermal energy has reduced acid rain by 97%.
- One of the most important benefits of geothermal energy is that it is renewable. Since it is renewable, earth continually replenishes water supply with rain and production of heat is a constant process in earth’s interior. Combined together, this energy is useful in heating and cooling our homes. The advantage of it is that we never run out of energy and it has no harmful effects on environment.
- After the initial investment is done, i.e. a geothermal power plant is established at a site, minimum channels are required to channel it. This makes geothermal energy efficient and relatively free after initial investment.
- Geothermal power plants don’t have to be of large size as huge dams, atomic power plants etc. This reduces the impact of power plants on the environment.
Cons Of Geothermal Energy
- Today, most countries don’t use geothermal energy. As a result, if you want to install geothermal energy in your home or office, it will be a difficult to find qualified personnel for the job.
- Choosing a site for trapping geothermal energy requires a lot of factors to be taken into consideration. For example, a well has to be drilled at such a place, where it can provide hot rocks in the layer of the earth crusts, which can heat the water pumped into the well at suitable level.
- In case the steam is not produced to a correct mark, the entire project becomes difficult to sustain.
- A well can only be dug at a site, where the layer of rocks is sitting above the hot rocks and is easy to drill through. Since it’s difficult to find such sites, use of geothermal energy is hampered.
- For installation of geothermal energy, wide space and long pipes are needed. As a result, it’s difficult to install geothermal energy into homes, which are located in densely populated area.
- Since the layers in the earth are at a constant, the well can dry up at some point of time, leading to closure of the electricity plant and financial losses.
- Usage of geothermal energy results in emission of hazardous gases like hydrogen sulphide, which comes to the surface along with the water. There are also various other hazardous material, which come along with hot water like arsenic, mercury and ammonia. They can cause health hazards and can have impact on the environment.
- Since the sites for trapping geothermal energy are usually located in areas that have volcanoes or are frequently rocked by earthquakes, not many investors agree to invest in them.