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The History of Geothermal Energy

7
Sep

residential geothermal power
Geothermal energy didn’t need to be invented – it is a natural part of our earth. However, while this source of energy has always been around, it wasn’t until relatively recently that humans were able to harness the power of this energy source for useful purposes. Specifically, it was in 1904 was the first breakthrough occurred with regard to geothermal power. At the time, only five light bulbs were lit during an experiment in Italy, but that first success lit the way for modern geothermal technologies.

Coming to the States

It would be 18 years between the first use of geothermal power and its first notable experience in the United States. In 1922, a geothermal power plant was created in the U.S. This plant was used to provide everyday electricity for things like buildings and street lights. However, this project was not successful in the long run, and it was shut down before it could make a notable impact on the market.

A Long Wait

After the failure in 1922, there would be a long period of time which would elapse before the geothermal option would be on the table again in the United States. In the ‘60s, a larger geothermal plant was built, and it was far more successful than the first venture. This plant created an impressive 11 megawatts of power, and it proved that geothermal power actually did have a future.

The U.S. Leads the Way

The biggest creator of geothermal power in the world today is the United States. While it is still not anywhere near as popular as other power options – such as hydroelectric power – it does have a notable place in the market. More than 3,000 megawatts of power can be created in the U.S. through geothermal plants.

It is important to note that the U.S. is not alone in its pursuit of geothermal production. A number of other countries are also active in this area, including New Zealand, Italy (where it all started), Indonesia, and the Philippines. Just as is the case with hydroelectric power, it is necessary to have the right geographical features available in order to make geothermal energy work properly. Therefore, it won’t ever be a ubiquitous power source around the globe. However, it does stand as another important renewable energy source as time goes by.

Changing Our Future

It is no secret that many of the popular power sources used throughout the 20th century are not renewable, and will be running out at some point in the relatively near future. While power sources such as coal and oil have served mankind very well for a period of time, those resources are certain to run out at some point. On the other hand, geothermal energy is a renewable source of power that is friendly to the environment and can be quite efficient when used properly. Given the current appetite for renewable energy around the world, it is very likely that we will see more of geothermal energy moving forward!