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We try to update this page regularly with answers to the questions we get most frequently. If you are looking for information on geothermal energy, our organization, or our membership that you do not find below - please get in touch!
What is geothermal?
Geothermal energy is a renewable resource that harnesses the planet’s natural heat to meet society’s energy needs. One of its biggest advantages is that it is constantly available. The steady flow of heat from the Earth ensures an inexhaustible and essentially limitless supply of energy.
Does geothermal energy only provide heat?
Geothermal industries can broadly be split into three types:
- Extraction of natural hydrothermal hot waters, at temperatures usually well above 100° C to generate electricity.
- Direct use of cooler water from great depths for industrial and community heating systems.
- Geothermal heat pumps working at low temperatures, with shallow installations, to heat or cool individual buildings or houses. They are the geothermal equivalent to rooftop solar.
In addition to these three primary categories, there are new technologies being developed, such as EGS (Enhanced Geothermal Systems), or AGS (Advanced Geothermal Systems), aimed at making geothermal power production more economical and feasible in a greater variety of locations.
Where is geothermal energy available?
Geothermal heat pumps and some direct use applications are possible almost anywhere. While utility-scale power production has very specific geographic requirements, new technologies are currently being developed to make this resource more universally available.
Why is geothermal energy a valuable renewable energy source?
The key benefits of geothermal energy can be boiled down to three things: energy reliability and security; building jobs and the economy; and, fighting climate change:
- Geothermal power plants are dispatchable and load following, making geothermal energy not only available 24/7 but also flexible to ramping down or up to help cover changing operational requirements through the day as intermittent renewables come off the grid.
- For every two megawatts (2 MWs) of geothermal development there are five quality jobs created, the highest for any renewable energy.
- Geothermal involves no combustion, and most geothermal plants being developed will produce nearly zero air emissions. Geothermal also has among the smallest surface land footprint per kilowatt (kW) of any power generation technology.
What is Geothermal Rising?
Geothermal Rising, formerly the Geothermal Resources Council, is a tax-exempt, non-profit, educational association 501(c)(3). Geothermal Rising actively seeks to expand its role as a primary professional educational association for the international geothermal community and serves as a focal point for continuing professional development for its members through its outreach, information transfer and education services.
Who are the members of Geothermal Rising?
GRC membership is open to any person, organization, agency or company. Our members include people in all aspects of the geothermal industry, as well as representatives from academia, government, and the general public.
Why is geothermal the energy source of the future?
As our society decarbonizes and electrifies then we will need renewable and clean energy sources that are always on, no matter what the time and whatever the weather. Geothermal power production is an established baseload resource that can also ramp up or down to fill the gaps left by variable resources such as wind or solar. Direct use applications and geothermal heat pumps can provide cost-effective thermal applications that reduce our need for carbon-intensive fossil fuels.