10 reasons why to support geothermal energy, published by GEA

10 reasons why to support geothermal energy, published by GEA Stillwater geothermal power plant by Enel (source: Atlas Copco)
Alexander Richter 21 Feb 2012

A recent document published by the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) gives ten reasons for answering the question on why to support geothermal energy.

In a recent support document, the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) published ten reasons for answering the question on “why (to) support geothermal energy”. There are some questions that are clearly focusing on issues in the United States, the overal reasoning should provide a good basis for some of the discussions many of us promoting geothermal. So thanks to Dan Jennejohn and the team at GEA for compiling this document.

1. Geothermal power is reliable power: Here the main argument of utility-scale geothermal power production adding reliability to the power systems as it provides a base-load power source, with a scalability from small to large sizes.

2. Geothermal power creates jobs and spurs economic growth: The document provides a great overview on the various jobs involved in geothermal power development, so while in general geothermal might not be the humongous job numbers as other industries, but it creates a nice set of jobs and economic development around the plants.

3. Geothermal energy promotes national security: increasingly an issue for many nations with a dependency on oil, one of the reasons many countries, such as the U.S. actually started looking at geothermal in the 1980s in the first place. Energy independence is the key word, not being dependent on outside energy sources.

4. Geothermal energy is environmentally friendly: Her the issue of life-cycle emissions and the overall land use comparison are giving good reasoning on why geothermal is environmentally friendly.

5. Geothermal energy is increasing exports abroad: here a rather U.S. based point of view, but showing how the geothermal energy sector is one of only two renewable energy technologies that is actually exporting more than it imports, which relates to equipment producers across the U.S.

6. Geothermal supports local economic development: mentioned above in the jobs section, but geothermal plants have been able to create a favourable overall economic environment attracting energy-intensive and related industries close to the plants and thereby pushing development locally.

7. Geothermal is a versatile energy source: Here main argument that geothermal energy not only is able to provide power, but also heat for a variety of applications.

8. Geothermal makes good economic sense: The overall cost of sourcing energy is mentioned in this regard and it is pointed out that there are virtually no fuel costs for geothermal plants and provide a very low cost renewable power on long-term fixed power prices, something that clearly differs for various countries, but in generally applies pretty much everywhere.

9. Geothermal uses humanly approachable technology: The actually technical capabilities to learn and maintain a plant is not as difficult opening up the possibility of adding local staff when the plant is built.

10. Geothermal energy is widely available: Here the overal resource estimates for the U.S. is given with the various geothermal applications available across the United States. For different countries this looks different, but in general geothermal is available everywhere. It is only a question for what purposes and if it is economically at the depth the heat can be reached.

Overall a very good document and overview and might be helpful to some of the readers.

The actual document can be downloaded via (pdf)