Wells are drilled deep into the surface of the Earth to obtain the geothermal energy and bring the hot liquid or the steam to the Earth’s surface. Generators are then used to convert the hot product into electricity. The source of much of the heat is the slow decay of various radioactive elements (including uranium) deep inside the earth. Sometimes hot springs are used to obtain geothermal energy, however, there are not enough hot springs on Earth to supply our needs, and many of the pre-existing hot springs have already run dry in a relatively short period of time.

WorldWide Production of Geothermal Energy

The International Geothermal Association (IGA) has reported that 10,715 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power in 24 countries is online, which is expected to generate 67,246 GWh of electricity in 2010. This represents a 20% increase in geothermal power online capacity since 2005. IGA projects this will grow to 18,500 MW by 2015, due to the large number of projects presently under consideration, often in areas previously assumed to have little exploitable resource.

 

How is geothermal energy produced

In 2010, the United States led the world in geothermal electricity production with 3,086 MW of installed capacity from 77 power plants; the largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California. The Philippines follows the US as the second highest producer of geothermal power in the world, with 1,904 MW of capacity online; geothermal power makes up approximately 18% of the country's electricity generation.

 

How is geothermal energy produced

January 2011: Al Gore said in The Climate Project Asia Pacific Summit that Indonesia could become a super power country in electricity production from geothermal energy.

Canada is the only major country on the Pacific Ring of Fire which has not yet developed geothermal power. The region of greatest potential is theCanadian Cordillera, stretching from British Columbia to the Yukon, where estimates of generating output have ranged from 1,550 MW to 5,000 MW.

How is geothermal energy produced

The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world is located at The Geysers, a geothermal field in California, United States. As of 2004, five countries (El Salvador, Kenya, the Philippines, Iceland, and Costa Rica) generate more than 15% of their electricity from geothermal sources.

How is geothermal energy produced

Geothermal electricity is generated in the 24 countries listed in the table below. During 2005, contracts were placed for an additional 500 MW of electrical capacity in the United States, while there were also plants under construction in 11 other countries. Enhanced geothermal systems that are several kilometres in depth are operational in France and Germany and are being developed or evaluated in at least four other countries.

Installed geothermal electric capacity

Installed geothermal electric capacity

Country

Capacity (MW)
2007

Capacity (MW)
2010

percentage
of national
production

* USA

2687

3086

0.3%

* Philippines

1969.7

1904

27%

* Indonesia

992

1197

3.7%

* Mexico

953

958

3%

* Italy

810.5

843

1.5%

* New Zealand

471.6

628

10%

* Iceland

421.2

575

30%

* Japan

535.2

536

0.1%

* El Salvador

204.4

204

25%

* Kenya

128.8

167

11.2%

* Costa Rica

162.5

166

14%

* Turkey

38

94

0.3%

* Nicaragua

87.4

88

10%

Installed geothermal electric capacity (Cont)

Installed geothermal electric capacity

Country

Capacity (MW)
2007

Capacity (MW)
2010

percentage
of national
production

* Russia

79

82


* Papua New Guinea

56

56


* Guatemala

53

52


* Portugal

23

29


* China

27.8

24


* France

14.7

16


* Ethiopia

7.3

7.3


* Germany

8.4

6.6


* Austria

1.1

1.4


* Australia

0.2

1.1


* Thailand

0.3

0.3


TOTAL

9,731.9

10,709.7


How is geothermal energy produced

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