If you’re confused about what is geothermal energy, don’t be, we’re here to explain.
The core of the Earth is extremely hot and contains molten magma. Tapping this heat energy by sending water a few miles below the surface and getting steam in return to drive turbines is how geothermal energy can be used.
Globally, more than 10 GW of geothermal electricity is being produced. United States leads the chart, followed by Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, New Zealand, Iceland and others.
While solar and wind energies are being successfully implemented in India, Geothermal and tidal power techniques have not been commercially implemented so far. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is looking to form a policy to promote deployment of large scale geothermal power projects. It wants to set a target of 1 GW by 2022 and 10 GW by 2030.
For technology, there will be partnerships with countries which have considerable experience in building and maintaining geothermal projects. US, Mexico, New Zealand and Philippines are on that list. Tata Power and Thermax are already in talks to get access to technologies.
MNRE has also done research studies in locating sites that are suitable for geothermal projects. Areas in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are potential sites.
How Green Is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is largely renewable and sustainable. It requires very less fresh water and the land footprint is also small. But the fluids drawn from the Earth contain toxic gases like ammonia, CO2, methane and hydrogen sulphide. The overall average CO2 emission of existing geothermal plants is 122 kg per MWh which is pretty low, considering other non-renewable sources of power. One concern about geothermal drilling and fracking process is that it can trigger small earthquakes in some regions. Overall, it is a good alternative power source, worth exploring.
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons