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Geothermal Basic Introduction

Geothermal energy, the heat of the Earth, provides continuous, 24-hour a day, clean, sustainable energy production. Together, advances in technology, private investment, and government support are increasing geothermal energy production in the U.S. and worldwide. Geothermal Basics gives an overview of what you should know about this renewable energy resource and is available as a PDF report, titled Geothermal 101: Basics of Geothermal Energy Production and Use. It includes simple definitions, descriptions, and figures and cites key national reports that provide further information. The benefits of using geothermal energy are explained on a national, economic and environmental level. This report answers the common questions about geothermal energy and provides you with up-to-date information and references. Although more emphasis is given in this report to geothermal electricity production, other applications such as geothermal heat pumps and direct heating uses are also covered. Whether you are new to the basics or have been working in the field for years, this report provides valuable information.

Acknowledgments: We wish to acknowledge all those who have contributed to this report, including John Pritchett of SAIC, Roy Mink of US Geothermal, Dan Fleischmann of Ormat, and Jeff Tester and his graduate students at MIT. This work is based upon various reports and documents, among the principal authors were Alyssa Kagel, Diana Bates, Nathanael Hance, Mark Taylor, and Karl Gawell. Special thanks to Marilyn Nemzer and the Geothermal Education Office for extensive input and support. The final document was prepared, written, and edited by Leslie Blodgett and Kara Slack with assistance and input from many individuals. We should also acknowledge the hundreds of individuals who reviewed the earlier reports from which materials are derived, particularly A Guide to Geothermal Energy and the Environment, A Handbook on the Externalities, Employment, and Economics of Geothermal Energy, The State of Geothermal Energy, Part I: Subsurface Technology, and The State of Geothermal Technology, Part II: Surface Technology. Each of these reports is available from the GEA Web site at http://www.geo-energy.org/reports.aspx.

Heat flow map courtesy of SMU Geothermal Laboratory.

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All parts of Geothermal Basics updated February 27, 2009

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