Geothermal energy is energy derived from within the earth’s surface. The heat trapped within the earth’s surface is driven out of the earth and used to drive turbines and generate electricity. Geothermal is one of the clean alternative energy sources which researchers are focusing their efforts to find alternative clean energy sources. Geothermal energy has quite a bit of advantages which are derived from the source’s natural nature. However, as with other alternative energy sources, it has its own disadvantages. We shall explore these disadvantages.
Underground locations that are hot enough to generate adequate power. Because the energy source is derived from the hottest locations underground, it requires these locations to be present. In many places, due to geographical differences, there is not enough heat in shallow underground that can be harnessed. For that reason, geothermal energy can only be harnessed in only particular locations. This limits the extent of which this source can be harnessed and the locations and availability which can benefit from this energy source. Not being able to reach a wide range of potential users is a serious limit of this energy source. However, for those that it is able to reach, it amounts to significant savings on the energy bill.
High initial costs
The cost to set up and implement a geothermal harnessing system is quite high, which is another disadvantage of geothermal energy. It requires the purchasing of needed materials such as setting up the plant and its mechanisms. Electricity towers and other features also require a great deal of technical expertise and expensive tools to set up in order to maximize on efficiency. In the long run, however, this cost offsets itself by the savings of power bills as well as the minimization of pollution.
Release of harmful gasses
Digging up the earth to secure access to geothermal energy requires releasing gases stored up within the earth that are harmful to health and contribute to pollution of air. Methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, arsenic, and mercury are some of the most poisonous gases released by the digging up holes for geothermal energy.
Geothermal pollution affects both waterways as well as air in which the gasses are released. Within the earth where waterways run, these taped gases release poisonous pollutants which then affect the life within the waterways and make it harmful for human consumption. In the air, gases such as carbon dioxide contribute to the greenhouse effect which is one of the things alternative energy sources are meant to minimize.
Eventual depletion of source
Geothermal sources can potentially run out of heat to be harnessed. This is because of the eventual cooling of the space within the earth. Two options remain in this case, digging deeper or stopping the digging. For the first case, the continued digging eventually results in serious disfigurement of the earth and habitats of animals.
For that reason, geothermal energy sources are pending to run out. In the long run, this is undesirable, especially considering the amount of money spent into implementing the plant and the transport system of the generated electricity.