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Increasingly countries are turning to renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydropower to generate electricity. But geothermal energy is also used in many countries as a source of renewable energy – we look at how it’s used around the world.
The term geothermal comes from the ancient Greek words ‘geo’ meaning earth and ‘therme’ meaning heat. Geothermal energy uses the heat from the earth making it clean and sustainable.
Geothermal energy can be found both deep down in the depths of the earth where temperatures are so high that rock is molten (magma), to shallow ground where hot water and rocks are found. Temperatures at the Earth’s core can reach over 4,000°C.
Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years. Hot springs are used for bathing now just as they were in the past. Geothermal energy was also used by the Romans to heat their homes. But more recently, geothermal energy has been used to generate electricity.
The shallow ground (usually the top 10 feet of the Earth’s surface) stays at a constant temperature – around 10–16°C. Geothermal heat pumps use this energy to heat buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer. The heat removed from buildings in the summer can be used to provide a source of hot water.
Currently there is around 12.8GW of geothermal power globally. But according to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) only around 6% of the global potential has so far been tapped. There are a number of countries generating over 15% of their electricity from geothermal sources including Iceland, Kenya and Costa Rica. Around 87% of Iceland’s heating and hot water comes from geothermal energy – with 73% of the country’s electricity coming from hydropower.
The first geothermal power generator was tested in July 1904 in Italy by Prince Piero Ginori Conti – it lit four light bulbs. The first commercial geothermal power plant was built there in 1911.
Conventional power stations use fossil fuels to generate steam which then turns a turbine. Geothermal power stations use steam produced from reservoirs of hot water below the ground. There are several types of geothermal power plants – dry steam, flash steam and binary cycle.
Geothermal energy is increasingly used in homes and businesses. The potential of this sustainable energy source is huge. It can be used to heat and cool buildings and generate electricity. But until it’s available in all offices and manufacturing units along with solar power, the best way to reduce business energy costs is compare prices.
SwitchMyBusiness.com can help by comparing 17 energy suppliers and advising on the best option for your business. Call 0800 411 8830 for a quick quote or complete the form at the top right of this page.
"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017
Super helpful and easy to work with
"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017
An Extremely Competent Company
"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017