Meeting energy demands is one of the most important factors to achieve sustainability. A reliable and affordable alternative source of energy can enhance broad economic gains. Geothermal energy is an important alternative source of energy that can increase energy production and enhance environmental safety. It is an important source of renewable energy that generates electricity (DiPippo, 2011).
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Geothermal energy is obtained when heat from the Earth’s crust is released close to earth’s surface. When the underlying rocks have cracks, the heated ground water erupts through the cracks as geysers that are transformed in to geothermal power (Karsner and Petty, 2007).Geothermal power is a reliable, flexible, and green energy resource which can supply significant amounts of power for domestic and industrial use.
Turpin (2003) posits that geothermal heat pumps have been used in homes and for commercial heating purposes. However, to produce energy from the geothermal sources require engineering techniques, funds, and political commitment.
In order to meet the national goal of achieving 20% of the total electrical energy production in the U.S. by not later than 2030, geothermal power provides a better option because it is a major renewable energy source that contributes to the security of the nation, hence limiting the dependence on fossil fuels.
Moreover, it minimizes the risks associated with the fluctuations in oil prices, and enhances the growth and development of new infrastructures. Therefore, geothermal energy is an economical source of energy because its production depends on a constant supply of free energy (Karsner and Petty, 2007).
Due to an increase in energy demand, geothermal energy provides a better alternative for energy to sustain the world’s growing population (Karsner and Petty (2007). The feasibility of geothermal energy depends on its supply and competitiveness in terms of its availability, cost of extraction, and reliability.
Furthermore, the supply of geothermal energy is practicable in only certain locations. Thus, it can be made more available with improvements on engineering technologies that are used to produce energy from the geothermal sources (Karsner and Petty, 2007).
Geothermal energy is divided into hydrothermal, enhanced geothermal systems, geopressured, and a fluid co-produced with oil and gas. These geothermal technologies have been developed commercially worldwide.
Enhanced Geothermal System is an important technology that enables the geothermal sources that lack sufficient water or permeability to be developed. The main purpose is to tap energy from hot permeable rocks.
Geothermal energy extracted from Enhanced Geothermal System can provide electricity at a range that can greatly improve the U.S. energy supply to meet the increasing demands. EGS can produce up to an approximately 100,000 MW of electricity by the year 2050 depending on the availability of geothermal sources (Karsner and Petty, 2007).
According to DiPippo (2011) it is projected that energy generated by geothermal power plants will double in the year 2030 up from 18 billion kWh achieved in the year 2010.
In conclusion, the implementation of geothermal energy, as an alternative renewable energy, should be done with proper evaluation of its merits and demerits.
The development of Enhanced Geothermal System can provide a secure alternative source of geothermal power that would help minimize economic instabilities that result from fossil fuel market fluctuations and supply uncertainties (Karsner and Petty, 2007). It is necessary to put more efforts towards developing geothermal power because it is cleaner and environmentally sustainable.
DiPippo, Ronald. 2011. “Geothermal energy: Electricity generation and environmental impact.” Energy Policy, Vol. 19 (8) 798-807.
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Petty, Susan, and Karsner Alexander. 2007. Is it time to put geothermal energy development on the fast track? From testimony on the national geothermal initiative Act of 2007 before the senate committee on energy and natural resources, No. 9. 170-185.
Turpin, Joanna R. 2003. “Commercial geothermal: Bright spot in a gloomy economy.” Air conditioning heating & refrigeration news, Vol. 1:1-3.