Geothermal energy could solve Spain and Portugal’s energy problemsJune 20, 2014
Spain and Portugal have enough geothermal potential to satisfy energy needs
Both Spain and Portugal could meet the entirety of their energy needs through geothermal energy, according to a new study from the University of Valladolid. The study suggests that neither country would have to make use of fossil-fuels or any other form of renewable energy to accomplish this goal, as they both have enough geothermal potential to satisfy their power demands. This may be good news for both countries, as the adoption of various forms of clean energy can be quite expensive, whereas a focus on one type of clean energy could be economically viable.
Geothermal power could be a very reliable energy source for both countries
The idea of geothermal energy is quite straightforward. Geothermal systems utilize heat generated by the planet itself, using this heat to boil water and produce steam. The steam is fed through large turbines that are responsible for generating electrical power. Because geothermal power is always available, this could be an effective, 24-hour energy source that is not subject to environmental whims.
Spain and Portugal have a combined geothermal potential of 700 GW
The study shows that Spain and Portugal have a combine 700 gigawatts of geothermal potential. This is five times more than the current energy needs of Spain alone. Exactly how these countries could tap into this energy is a somewhat controversial subject. Conventional geothermal power plants would work quite well, but Spain and Portugal may be keen to try “advanced” methods of making use of geothermal power. These advanced methods are quite similar to the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”
Fracking may be used to tap into geothermal power resources
Fracking is the process of injecting pressurized liquid into rock layers found deep within the earth. This liquid creates fractures and, in conventional fracking, allows gases to be extracted more easily. In the case of geothermal energy, fracking would be used to create fractures in rock layers that allow water to be stored and heated. This heated water would then be pumped to the surface and sent through a heat exchange system, producing thermal energy. This process could have serious environmental consequences that could expose people to harmful toxins.