Geothermal Energy: The Good and the Bad
Part 1: The Good
- The number one advantage of geothermal energy is that it is a sustainable energy source. Unlike non-reneweable fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, gas, and other carbon energy sources, geothermal energy is a renewable energy just like wind power, solar power, and wave power, etc. The Earth’s heat unlimited and therefore geomthemal energy is unlimited energy as well.
- One a geothermal heat pump is installed, it will generate power for many years, without the need to replace the power source. Some minor maintenance may be needed on the heat pump, but the loop system will be good for decades, provided it was installed correctly.
- Geothermal energy is very environmentally friendly, and is one of the main reasons why people around the world should make the switch.is. It doesn’t pollute the air or water and as a result, it will not cause damage to our planet, or to our health. We can benefit from geothermal energy now and for future generations, and at the same time live in harmony with our natural surroundings.
It has the potential to help save a lot of money
- In the long run, geothermal energy will save us money. Once a geothermal energy system is installed, it has a very low maintenance cost, but can heat and cool an entire building for decades.
- In most cases, initial investment costs to install a geothermal system will reach a break even point at around the 10 year mark. So this “free” energy source is not only worth pursuing, but no doubt will be worth it even more in the future. More people using geothermal technology will drive the prices down, because as the demand goes up, the prices of parts, and installation will decrease as the competition increases.
- It does not require continual repairs or mandatory inspections per year like other furnaces, which will save you $$$$$ lots of money in the long run as well.
- The use of a geothermal heat pump is incredibly safe (when it is installed properly by a qualified specialist). You don’t have to worry about being poisoned by dangerous gases like carbon monoxide, and it won’t catch on fire like a wood stove, it won’t explode like natural gas or propane can, and it doesn’t give off dangerous radiation.
Constant rate of electrical energy
- One of the main problems with alternative green energy solutions tends to be that they are somewhat unreliable. The might not be blowing, the sun may not be shining (especially during the night), and the ocean may be calm, produces few waves. But fortunately this is not the case for geothermal energy and power, which produces a constant heat and cooling source, regardless of the time of year, the season, time of day, or temperature outside. It can produce a constant 60 F or 16 C at a depth of 6 feet or 1.8 meters, yearly, 24/7!!!
- Perhaps it may not be obvious, but geothermal energy offers an infinite supply of energy. The energy source would probably never be depleted, not in a million years, and probably not even a billion years, and is available at all times, and never shuts down, or stops providing energy.
It could be used for a variety of purposes
- Geothermal sites are found on all continents and it can be used commercially and residentially for heating and cooling of buildings. But it can also be used for the generation of electricity through the use of geothermal power plants. Other uses would be hot spring baths or water heaters but those would be location dependent only.
Part 2: The Bad
Initial costs are high
- The high cost of installion of a geothermal heating and cooling system is the biggest drawback. It is more expensive to install one of these systems compared to a natural gas, boiler, or wood system.
Having a wide area is a necessary
- A fairly large property area is needed to install a geothermal heating system. In the case of a large backyard of a property it won’t be a big problem, but a geothermal heat pump system may not be installed in garden sized yard at a house in the city, at least not with horizontal loops. Vertical lines can also be used, but is considerably more difficult and have a high price to drill vertically relative to the horizontal loops.
Electric power is still needed
- A heat pump needs electricity to operate. This is more like a drawback of heat pump geothermal and yet, should be taken into account when deciding if a geothermal heat pump system is the way to go. The amount of electricity isn’t really that much, but if your going off the grid, then it definitely has to be considered.