Renewable energy is the future of the world, a fact which has been recognized by the 8 countries that produce the most geothermal energy in the world. Renewable energy refers to energy which is permanent in nature, i.e. it gets replaced in a natural manner. Examples of renewable energy include hydroelectric energy, nuclear energy, wind energy, solar energy, and one of the comparatively underrated forms of renewable energy, geothermal energy, which we are going to focus on. For information regarding other such sources of energy, you can visit the 8 countries that produce the most nuclear energy in the world.
Geothermal energy is energy obtained from the thermal energy which has been stored in the Earth. Thermal energy refers to the energy which actually decides the temperature of matter. This energy, which has been established since the creation of the Earth, partially originates from the creation of the planet and partially from the decay of radioactive materials in the surface of the Earth.
Hence, due to the difference in the temperature of the crust of the Earth and its surface, geothermal energy is consistently rising to the surface. Geothermal energy has been used throughout history, albeit for purposes different than its uses for today. It has been used for bathing in hot springs since the Paleolithic era, which took place tens of thousands of years ago. Furthermore, geothermal energy was also used for space heating during the era of the Roman Empire.
Of course, the current importance of geothermal lies not in bathing or space heating, but in the generation of electricity. Other uses of geothermal energy, which use up only a small percentage of the total global production of geothermal energy, include district heating, desalination, agricultural processes, spas and industrial applications as well.
There are a variety of reasons which support the use of geothermal energy production and application. These include the fact that geothermal energy is cost effective, environmentally friendly (which is one of the biggest reasons renewable energy has been gaining traction among the public), sustainable and also reliable.
As always, technology has paved the way for an increase in the use and production of geothermal energy. In fact, now geothermal energy is also being considered for the heating of homes, which would create an entirely new and huge market for the energy.
While the usage of geothermal energy has been linked to the release of greenhouse gases which are trapped within the Earth, their emissions are much lower than those linked to the burning of fossil fuels, which are the traditional method of generating electricity. Hence, if geothermal energy substantially replaces the usage of fossil fuels for the generation of electricity, then global warming could be greatly reduced on a global scale, which is important for the sustenance of this planet.
While geothermal resources are so abundant that they could take care of all our needs regarding electricity, the trouble occurs in its extraction. The research, exploration, and drilling required for the extraction of geothermal energy is quite expensive and hence, become a limiting factor for many.
Research has shown that the general population is becoming aware of global warming and its severe consequences, which is why they are actually willing to pay more for a renewable source of energy. On the other hand, government subsidies and research have seen the cost of geothermal energy fall in the past decade or two.
Hence, plants built to harness geothermal energy are increasing on a global scale. In 2014 only, 21 plants have been established which are capable of the production of 610 megawatts, which is the most production capacity added in a year since 1997, a significant achievement in itself.
There are very few countries that produce geothermal energy due to the aforementioned reasons. 24 countries produce geothermal energy though this is set to expand to 80 countries soon. To find out countries that produce the most geothermal energy in the world, we took a look at 2015 Annual US and Global Geothermal Power Production Report, which contains interesting facts relating to the growth of geothermal energy. Here is the ranking, starting from number 8: