Low-Carbon Technologies: Geothermal Power

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Geothermal energy is heat stored in the earth’s interior that is used to provide energy.  The types of heat sources available depend on the specific geothermal layer (the earth’s crust, mantle or core) and mayinclude radioactive decay of organic materials, volcanic magma and solar absorption.  Natural geothermal energy sources that are most historically familiar are steam energy and hot water springs.  Research and development on geothermal power have explored advanced means of releasing trapped heat sources.  Technologies such as geothermal wells that enable heat release and provide usable power produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than do typical fossil fuel-powered energy sources.  The reduction in emissions and feasibility of such mitigation make geothermal power an attractive alternative to current power supplies.  However, the costs of developing and implementing such technologies and their associated processes, such as drilling, resource assessment and well construction, prevent geothermal power from becoming a more widespread energy supply.