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Geothermal Energy In America Essay

2293 words - 10 pages

Sitting under the western half of the United States is a natural source of energy generated by the heat within the earth itself. When the energy crisis of the 1970’s took place, the government began funding programs to develop methods that would turn the heat produced from geothermal activity into a tangible source of power. The use of geothermal energy offers a safer alternative to nuclear power and lessens America’s dependence on foreign sources. As a renewable resource, geothermal energy would offer a stepping stone into lowering the impact Americans left on the environment but would also allow them to continue the use of the luxuries they had become so accustomed to having. The increase in prices to heat and cool homes using the traditional forms of energy would help gain support from the public and focus more resources to not only geothermal but other alternative forms of clean energy. Used outside of the home, geothermal energy would offer agricultural and industrial benefits that could not be utilized by the use of traditional forms of energy such as the burning of fossil fuels. Geothermal energy is still a newer form of energy and it would take time for America to transition into using it as a mainstream source for power. The shift to geothermal energy could not take place, however, without the proper legislation to give funding and zoning regulations to allow for excavation in areas that harbor an adequate source of heat for conversion into energy. Geothermal energy would not become the favored child of the American government and would have to follow laws put into place by state and federal governments and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The United States government has been slow in developing geothermal energy since the idea originated in the 1970’s. Even with an ample amount of locations to excavate geothermal energy, the legislation and required funding have not provided the necessary means for this resource to reach its full potential and would not do so until the latter half of development. Assigned to create the partnerships, funding, locations and techniques to excavate for geothermal energy the Department of Energy (DOE) would spearhead the charge of establishing programs needed to carry out these goals. The DOE creation of State Cooperative Programs lessened the financial burden placed on itself and the state while developing geothermal energy over the last three decades. The state Cooperative Programs connected private developers to resources on the local, state and federal level that produced positive growth in the industry. The addition of research done by universities opened more geothermal rich regions to exploration and development. Environmental regulations created the strongest barrier against for the development of geothermal energy. Regulations put into place later in development caused change to the design of buildings and regulations for disposal for waste material produced in the process. These...

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