While some renewable energy sources — like the sun, the wind, and water — can easily be seen and/or felt, geothermal (or simply “thermal”) energy comes from a more enigmatic source: the heat far below the Earth’s crust. For more than 100 years, steam from below the Earth’s surface has been used to generate power. From electricity generated through geothermal power plants to district energy systems that heat and cool buildings using an underground network of pipes, this alternative energy source has big potential. Now that’s deep! Check out this video to learn more about how geothermal energy works.
Renewable Energy 101
If you’ve ever observed an erupting volcano or the geysers at Yellowstone National Park, you’ve seen geothermal energy in action.
The Earth’s crust is made of rocks and water. Deep below that is a layer of hot, molten rock called “magma,” which is even hotter than the sun’s surface. The heat just over six miles below the surface contains 50,000 times more energy than all the oil and natural gas resources in the world.
Releasing a small amount of that heat in the right way can create electricity. A well drilled a couple of miles deep can capture the rising hot water and steam. That steam spins a turbine and a generator produces electricity.
Geothermal is one of the least explored sources of renewable energy in the U.S., and most of us probably don’t spend much time thinking about it. But since it’s a pollution-free renewable source of energy that’s consistently reliable — at least it has been for the past 4.5 billion years — maybe we should!
About: Green Mountain Energy is the nation’s longest-serving renewable energy retailer and believes in using wind, sun and water for good. The company was founded in 1997 with the mission to “change the way power is made.” Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, as well as carbon offsets and sustainable solutions for businesses.
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