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[INFOGRAPHIC] The role geothermal could play in the world's energy mix

The Earth's crust has rocks as hot as 350 degrees Fahrenheit which can be harnessed to generate electricity
Geothermal energy technology has been enhanced

Sometimes it seems that the more you look for a solution, the more you tend to overlook those right under your nose—or way under your feet.

The problem in this case is the quickening pace of climate change, which threatens to displace millions of human beings in our lifetime, according to an endless number of sources. Some possible solutions have been around for as long as the Earth itself: wind, sun and water.

In the case of geothermal energy, however, the topic is typically relegated to the backburner, which is strange given the impressive implications of the technology. It all starts in the Earth’s crust. The Earth’s crust is made up of hot rock— where temperatures reach upwards of 350 degrees Fahrenheit— that can be harnessed to generate electricity. By utilizing water heated in the crust, geothermal power facilities can generate electricity with steam. 

The idea and practice of accessing geothermal energy is not new. What this infographic illustrates is the functionality of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS.)

EGS matters because they can capture power from anywhere there is enough hot rock, create little to no greenhouse gas emissions and are constant— meaning they create energy around the clock, unlike solar or wind.

According to energy.gov, America’s first commercial, grid-connected EGS is up and running and located in Churchill County in northwestern Nevada.

“The new 1.7 megawatt ‘Desert Peak 2’ EGS installation, harnesses the boundless supply of heat found thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface to generate clean, renewable electricity. The project is being led by Ormat Technologies,” energy.gov said.

The energy agency believes that EGS can play a critical role in America’s energy future.

“Whereas traditional geothermal systems are largely limited to deployment in the western United States, EGS can be deployed all across America – extending geothermal’s overall reach. Geologists estimate EGS can supply more than 100 GW in the U.S. alone— a 40-fold increase over present geothermal power capacity,” according to energy.gov.

In the meantime, the Desert Peak facility has increased power output at the site by 38 percent, according to energy.gov.

Related Story: [WATCH]: Geothermal Energy: America's Forgotten Renewable

Related Story: [INTERACTIVE]: Map of U.S. Geothermal Heat Flow

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