Geothermal 101: Geothermal Energy—The Mining of Earth’s Heat

In this presentation, you will learn the fundamentals of geothermal energy and why it typically lies in the shadow of other better-known forms of renewable energy, such as wind and solar.  Important questions explored include:

  • What is geothermal energy and where does the heat come from?
  • How is geothermal energy used over a wide range of temperatures?
  • What are some of the key attributes and challenges of geothermal energy?
  • What criteria are necessary to make a geothermal system viable for producing electrical power?
  • What are some of the important types of geothermal systems and how are those different systems harnessed for the benefit of society?
  • What makes Nevada so prospective for finding and developing geothermal resources?
  • What is the future of geothermal energy, including the role of engineered geothermal systems and the essentially “green” (minimal use of fossil fuels) recovery of important minerals from geothermal brines, such as lithium, manganese, and zinc?

After participating in this presentation, my hope is that you no longer say, “huh,” when the topic geothermal is broached during conversations about renewable energy. Instead, you will become an ardent supporter of an energy resource that is renewable, available around the clock, mainly carbon-free, and can be utilized and benefit society over a wide range of temperatures. Viva Geothermal!

Speaker: Dave R. Boden, Truckee Meadows Community College