Geothermal Energy for small Communities

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How geothermal energy can generate electricity for small communities

Geothermal energy is a viable, alternative energy source that can provide power for many communities worldwide. Since geothermal energy is sourced from the earth's underground heat, it is considered a low-cost and sustainable energy source. A lot of communities have taken advantage of the benefits of geothermal power, and more are eyeing this resource to provide energy and heating and/or cooling to their area.

Basically, geothermal energy is utilized by harnessing the heat from beneath the earth's surface to turn turbines that in return power up pumps in power plants.

efficient power source in areas where there is more seismic activity

This can be done anywhere, but in the United States, most of the geothermal power plants are located in the western states, and in Alaska and Hawaii. Generally, geothermal energy can be efficiently used as a power source in areas where there is more seismic activity. The largest system of geothermal power plants in operation is located in the Geysers located north of San Francisco, California. The area is home to more than 20 geothermal power plants producing over 2,000 megawatts of power.

generating electricity for small communities

One of the biggest advantages of geothermal energy over fossil fuel as an energy source is that it is a free and renewable resource.

The use of geothermal energy greatly reduces dependency on fossil fuel, which is good for the environment. Geothermal power plants are also reliable in that they can be operated day and night, making them viable base load power suppliers.

How geothermal energy can be used for heating / cooling of small communities

geothermal heating of residential homes

Aside from producing electricity, geothermal energy may also be used for heating and/or cooling small communities. Iceland is a forerunner in using geothermal heating; about 87% of the homes in Iceland are under district heating using geothermal energy. Instead of having individual boilers, homes in communities with district heating are connected to a system which centralizes the heating process, which can produce heat and hot water for homes and buildings in that area.

Geothermal heating is generally available and viable for locations where geothermal resources are available. Recently, many technologies have been developed to include more areas as viable locations for geothermal energy use. Scientists are looking into more technologies and processes that will allow areas to use geothermal energy as long as there is enough heat beneath its surface.

a heat pumps for geothermal cooling and heating

To find out if your community can utilize geothermal energy, a study must be conducted by geologists and engineers to survey the temperature gradient in the area. The temperature gradient refers to the rate at which the temperature increases as you go deeper underground.

Once the area is found to be within the minimum required temperature gradient, facilities may be built so the community can enjoy the benefits of geothermal energy.

Before installing Geothermal Energy Technologies:

  • an area survey will find out, if geothermal energy can be utilized in this region
  • the most efficient technology will be needed to generate electricity and to provide geothermal heating
  • the economical profitability needs to be calculated before you start geothermal home heating by DIY

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How Geothermal Energy can generate electricity for small communities