Entiv Organic Energy aims to
efficiently utilize the earth's
natural energy - sustainably - through
the use of cutting-edge technology.
How does hot water from geothermal reserves create energy?
The most common way of capturing the energy from geothermal sources is to tap into naturally occurring "hydrothermal convection" systems where cooler water seeps into Earth's crust, is heated up, and then rises to the surface. When heated water is forced to the surface, it is a relatively simple matter to capture that steam and use it to drive electric generators. Geothermal power plants drill their own holes into the rock to more effectively capture the hot water and steam.
Does creating geothermal energy deplete the groundwater resource?
No. After the water is pumped out and run through the energy generation process it is pumped back into the groundwater reservoir at a slightly cooler temperature. Back in the underground reservoir, the water will then go through the process of heating to the natural temperature in that particular area. This is how the renewable resource works. There is no net loss of water as it is pumped out and returned to the same reservoir.
How much power is generated by geothermal energy?
Worldwide there is currently 10,715 megawatts of power generated by geothermal plants. According to the Geothermal Energy Association, there was 3086 megawatts of geothermal generation in the United States in 2010. This constitutes .3% of the overall energy generation in the country, but it is the largest amount of geothermal generation by any country in the world. Iceland is the country most reliant on geothermal power with 30% of its energy generation coming from geothermal.
Is geothermal energy cost-effective?
Geothermal power requires no fuel (except for pumps), and is therefore immune to fuel cost fluctuations. However, capital costs are significant. Drilling accounts for over half the costs, and exploration of deep resources entails significant risks. A typical well doublet (extraction and injection wells) in Nevada can support 4.5 megawatts and costs about $10 million to drill, with a 20% failure rate. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average cost per megawatt hour for geothermal is $101. This is slightly higher than wind ($97), but is lower than advanced coal plants ($109), biomass ($112), and solar ($210). A comparison with traditional energy is also favorable - conventional coal plants generate power at $95/megawatt hour.
What is the benefit of geothermal compared to other renewable energy sources?
Geothermal energy is a load-bearing energy source, meaning it can generate power at any time regardless of weather fluctuations. Wind and solar both require certain weather conditions in order to generate at a certain capacity. Geothermal, on the other hand, can run anytime. Even hydro, which is a considerable source of energy generation in some parts of the US, requires snow pack and water levels sufficient enough to generate power.