As the future approaches, technological advances continue to provide novel solutions to mankind’s unlimited need for energy. In recent years, geothermal has become an increasing popular contender to ameliorate that problem. It is said to be three times more efficient than traditional energy sources. Thus, employing the use of geothermal energy could potentially save homeowner thousands on their monthly energy bill, not mention eligibility for a generous tax credit from the IRS.
Etymologically speaking, geothermal energy means earth’s heat. It comes from the Greek γη (earth) and θερμος, meaning heat. Thermal energy is generated and then stored in earth, with 20% origination from the energy origination from the formation of the planet, and 80% stemming from radioactive decay. Surprisingly, geothermal energy is actually an ancient technology repackaged. The noble Roman’s used utilized geo thermal energy to heat their bathhouses, and the Persians even employed this technology in their own private homes.
Part of the reason why Geothermal energy is largely unknown and infrequently utilized due to price. It is very costly. A recently constructed plant in Nevada that can support 4.5 megawatts cost somewhere in the ballpark of $10 billion dollars to construct.
However efforts are in place to make geothermal energy a viable options for power. According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), geothermal production will increase 5% according to a recent survey in 2012. The projected spike is due to the recent success of a geothermal plants completed all around the globe in 2012. Also, technological advances continue, and eventually will make geothermal energy a viable option.
Currently the U.S. has a geothermal capacity of 3,385 Mega Watts (MW). However, there is no limit to the amount of geothermal energy that can be expensed, given that approximately 100 billion times the current annual energy consumption is lodged beneath the earth’s crust.