The Climate Report 2017/18 - Page 38

Geothermal Energy:
The Power to Do More
Krafla power station under the stars, Iceland. Bastien Poux, August 2016.
Geothermal energy provides a firm but flexible generation resource in a power supply market flooded with
other renewable, but intermittent, generation technologies. In addition to providing a secure indigenous
supply of electricity, transmission system reliability, and a lowcost fixed price of power, geothermal plants
have very low to nonexistent carbon emissions. In California, for example, The Geysers and Imperial County
geothermal plants supply baseload electricity while offsetting the emissions of 11.6 billion pounds of carbon
dioxide annually that would otherwise be emitted by fossil fuel plants. That is equivalent in greenhouse gas
emissions to taking more than 1,050,000 cars off the road.
Directuses of heat and hot water from geothermal resources can be used for a number of purposes as
demandside efficiency technologies, including cooking, pasteurizing, space heating, biofuel production, soil
warming, heating and cooling, vegetable drying, snow melting and deicing, lumber or cement drying, pulp and
paper processing, aquaculture, soil sterilization, fabric drying, refrigeration or ice making, and greenhouse
heating. Using directuse geothermal systems for these commercial purposes instead of fossil fuels helps
states further reduce emissions.
Lastly, geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), also known as groundsource heat pumps, use the nearconstant
temperatures and the insulating properties of the Earth just a few feet underground and do not require
accessing a deep geothermal reservoir. GHPs are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and
cooling technologies currently available and their use is burgeoning nationwide. Energy Starcertified
geothermal heat pumps are over 45 percent more energy efficient than traditional systems powered by fossil
fuels. Geothermal Heat Pumps are clean, quiet, create no indoor pollution, and use 25% to 50% less electricity
than conventional heating or cooling systems.


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