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The resource geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years. Heat energy, known as geothermal energy, can be found almost anywhere, in places as far as deep wells located in rural parts of Indonesia and as close as in the dirt in our backyards. The utilization of geothermal energy as an sustainable solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and the global warming and public health risks that result from their use has already started in many regions of the world. The heat derived from the earth’s core has the opportunity to be used as an energy source in multiple different methods, ranging from large and intricate power stations to compact and relatively basic pumping systems. Below the Earth’s crust, there is a layer called magma, made up of  hot and molten rock. In this layer of the earth heat is continually produced, the majority being derived from the decay of naturally radioactive materials. The amount of heat within 10,000 meters of Earth’s surface contains 50,000 times more energy than all the oil and natural gas resources in the world. The method in which geothermal energy is accessed consists of drilling water or steam wells, this  process is very similar to drilling for oil. Geothermal power plants use hydrothermal resources that have both water and heat . Geothermal power plants require hydrothermal resources at high temperatures ranging from 300° F- 700° F such resources come from either dry steam wells or from hot water wells.  These resources are utilized by drilling wells into the earth and then piping steam or hot water to the surface. Such hot water and steam powers a turbine that in return generates electricity. Geothermal energy is completely renewable, and scientists estimate that about one percent of geothermal energy amounts to 500 times what exists in all oil and gas resources in the planet. However we are just starting to tap into this incredible resource that has plenty of positive qualities. Geothermal energy is environmentally friendly, and known to be one of the most green energy sources. During the process of developing and making it, geothermal energy is almost completely emission free. Another benefit is that during the process of creating geothermal energy a high percent of sulfur is extracted that may have been discharged during other processes. Geothermal energy compared to other renewable energy sources it is not dependent on weather and therefore there are little to no power shortages. In recent years there has also been a significant increase in the number of homeowners implementing geothermal energy for heating and cooling . Throughout the years 30-60% of costs are saved on heating and 25-50% on cooling. Geothermal energy extracts heat from hot water, the steam that is created by hot water rotates the turbines that produce electricity. In order to extract this energy, a significant amount of piping is required to be laid underground. Although thanks to new technological advancements, geothermal energy has the lowest land footprint of all major energy sources in the globe. Geothermal energy completely removes the processing,mining, and transporting that is otherwise necessary for electricity generation from fossil fuel resources. When it comes to green energy, geothermal is one of the first types that is still being explored. New innovations are coming out very frequently, which  means as time goes on that it will most likely be easier to deal with some of the difficulties with the technology. Although geothermal energy is a innovative and beneficial energy source, it has its drawbacks and negative qualities. For residential owners who are interested in installing geothermal energy for their homes, high upfront costs are a huge setback. According to the size of your home the installation of geothermal heat pumps can range anywhere from $10,000- $40,000, however the initial cost can pay off itself 5-10 years down the line through significant costs in savings. On the other hand another downside is that geothermal heat pumps still need a power source that can run it. The pump needs electricity in order for the transfer of energy from the earth’s core to the home. In addition there are many environmental concerns surrounding geothermal energy, one of them being the water usage. Water use is a big concern due to the fact that geothermal energy uses water in many of its processes. One of  major ways that geothermal energy utilizes water is in certain geothermal power plants energy is accessed  by drilling water or steam wells, the hot water or steam powers a turbine that generates electricity. This process inevitably uses a large amount of water, which is a nonrenewable resource. Another environmental concern is that there are also a number of different compounds that go into air, water and ground, as a result of the process, including sulfur and silica discharges both of which can significantly harm the surrounding environment if not handled properly.  Lastly, geothermal energy has become infamous for being a possible cause of earthquakes, this is due to that fact that the creation and construction of geothermal power plants can alter the lands structure. A specific process that has been known to causing such earthquakes in large scale geothermal system power plants is hydraulic fracturing. Juan Manuel Urriola, Panama Secretary of Energy announced the possibility of implementing and developing geothermal energy in Panama with the intent of solely producing energy. Geothermal energy may be the a great addition to energy production in Panama, as in the past couple of years particularly during the dry season the country has struggled to produce enough electrical power in order to meet the needs of the growing economy. Given Panama’s geothermal capacity, if planned correctly geothermal energy could be a great alternative to hydroelectric energy during the times in which the reservoirs dry up and there’s simply not enough water behind the dam to turn the turbines. However to be completely sure whether or not geothermal energy would be feasible in Panama it would have to be further investigated, as the majority of traditional geothermal systems are only available in certain areas which is not always necessarily where power generation is needed. All things considered Geothermal energy is a beneficial renewable energy resource and has the potential with new innovations in technology to greatly impact the way we produce energy and electricity. In regard to some downsides of geothermal energy the environmental impact and expenses are the major concerns at hand. However geothermal energy compared to other renewable energy sources it is not dependent on weather and therefore there are little to no power shortages. Geothermal energy is also completely renewable considering the fact that it will exist until the earth does. It may be possible for geothermal energy to be introduced into Panama, however it may be a long time until we geothermal energy plants in the country as its implementation is still only starting to be discussed.

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