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Geothermal Energy Is The Solution To The Energy Crisis

1957 words - 8 pages

Geothermal Energy: A Solution to the Energy Crisis

Abstract
So far, scientists have not found a successful substitute for fossil fuels that can handle both the large demand for energy and solve the global warming problem. I propose that geothermal energy is a clean, widely available, and renewable alternative to the usage of fossil fuels. In this paper, I will explain how use of geothermal resources can be energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective. I believe that the US government should increase funding for geothermal energy research. This may be the solution to our present energy crisis and global warming.
Introduction
There is a call of action to solve today’s energy crisis. What we need urgently is a clean, abundant, and reliable source of energy. Geothermal energy may be the solution. Geothermal energy does not produce CO2 and is inexpensive compared to the unbelievably high gas prices. This type of energy is also renewable so it can continue to feed the growing population of the world. “New [geothermal] facilities can produce electricity for being between 4.5 and 7.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, making it competitive with new conventional fossil fuel-fired power plants.” (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2) This shows that if there is more research focused onto this topic, geothermal energy may become the solution to our energy crisis.
Current Energy Consumption
Currently, the energy consumption has been increasing exponentially. Energy consumption increases by 2% each year causing a doubling in only 35 years. As of 2003, the
energy consumptions in quadrillion BTU (British Thermal Unit= 1055.06 Joules) are: North America- 118.3, Europe- 127.4, Asia- 120.2, Middle East- 19.6, Central/South America- 21.9, Total world- 420.7. (International Energy Association, 3) The ranking from most used to least is: oil, coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, and renewable. Fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) take up about 80 % of total energy consumed. Fossil fuels cause pollution and global warming yet we continue to use them. Our demand for fossil fuels has become so great that according to current projections, Earth’s reserves will be depleted within the next 200 years. But we do not actually have 200 years to wait. Our run-away consumption of fossil fuel not only endangers our ability to meet our future energy needs but also the environment. Fossil fuels cause significant pollution and global warming. This in turn compromises wildlife habitats and can even lead to extinction of animal and plant species. By looking at new sources such as geothermal energy, we can move towards a source that is not extremely harmful and yet still effective.
Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy is heat energy that is stored underneath Earth’s surface. It is mainly found at volcanoes, hot springs, or geysers. Heat stored in the hot water and steam found at these locations is captured and can be used to heat buildings or generate electricity. This energy source...

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