Did you know that beneath the earth’s crust there is a power source capable of providing approximately 100 billion times the current annual energy consumption? Geothermal Energy is gaining wide spread acceptance due to technological advances making the use of geothermal energy cheaper and more efficient. In fact, the Geothermal Energy Association reported that Geothermal Energy increased 5% in 2014. It is likely that this will increase in the upcoming years, but how much it will increase is difficult to predict.
Geothermal Energy has actually been around for thousands of year. In the great times of antiquity, the noble Romans utilized geothermal energy to heat their bath houses, and steam rooms. The term comes from the Greek Ge(Earth) and thermos (heat). The word literally means earth’s heat, and there is no doubt that the Greeks and Latins utilized it.
Scientist theorize that 20% of the earth’s energy originated during the planet’s genesis, and 80% resulted from the long process of radioactive decay. Geothermal Energy is very attractive because it poses the possibility of an almost unlimited power source. By turning the earth into a battery, humanity could theoretically solve the world’s energy problems. Why haven’t we done it yet? one might ask. Well, technology has not progressed enough. Establishing a geothermal power plant is so expensive that it’s almost impossible to justify. For instance, a plant recently constructed in Nevada that can support 4.5 megawatts of energy, cost around $10 billion dollars to construct.
It is estimated that the total U.S. geothermal capacity is 3,386 Mega Watts (MW). Hopefully technology will evolve and make geothermal energy more feasibly. The future of clean energy, which is the future of the energy industry itself, will come down to economic feasibility. This trend can be observed in the oil and gas industry which has had access to fracking technology for years, but it was not advanced enough to make its use economically justifiable. Whether our future world will be powered by air, water, or earth will ultimately come down to price and a technological race.