The Future of Geothermal Energy in our nation

Geothermal energy is considered to be a clean source of energy. It mainly involves absorbing energy from the Earth’s molten core. Beneath the Earth’s surface is a hot layer of magma that erupts at some geological positions on the Earth. This eruption generates steam sufficient enough to rotate the blades of a turbine which generates electricity. The electricity generated can be then used to power up several houses or even small-scale industries solely depending on the velocity and pressure of the steam that vents out through the crust.

An alternative method is also present, known as thermal energy; this method involves burning coal or other fuels to generate steam which in turn rotates the blades to power up houses or industries. However, thermal energy is not considered a green source since it involves the combustion of several non-renewable fuels which only add up to the emissions emitted into the atmosphere. Whereas, geothermal is considered to be a more cost-effective and reliable source of energy. Some places are particularly favored to be potential geothermal points, as they can have access to steam within just a few hundred meters, therefore, avoiding drilling.

In the year 2010, the United States was the leader in geothermal power generation having a capacity of over 3000MW from over 70 plants present throughout the nation. The Philippines too followed the footsteps of the United States containing a capacity of around 1900MW powering up 18% of the nation’s electric grid.

In our nation according to a report in the year 2011, six prominent regions were identified as potential points for geothermal power generation. Located within these six regions where over 400 hot springs were used to estimate the thermal gradient present underneath the crust. The region in India containing the highest potential for a geothermal power plant was identified to be the Himalayan regions. These regions have a heat flow of 100w/m2 due to the highly built-up mountain ranges surrounded by them.

A 5kW installed capacity in Manikaran was abandoned in the year 2016 due to a catastrophic landslide. The energy obtained from this plant was used to suffice cold storage units, hot water baths and many other applications. Besides Manikaran, Tattapani too has a geothermal plant that helps sustain several mushroom cultivation industries, sericulture industry and also cold-storage production houses.

The government of our nation drafted a policy in the year 2019 which intends to get our nation to the top of the leader board in geothermal production. This policy intends to make our nation have a capacity of over 1,000MW by the end of 2022. The Ministry responsible for Renewable energy has put up an aim to develop 1000MW for thermal purposes and 20MW for electricity by 2022 and expect it to grow to 10,000MW and 1000MW respectively by the end of 2030.

By increasing the capacity for geothermal energy, we are not only reducing the effects of global warming or reducing our carbon footprint; we are also preparing sources for the erratic demand for energy we might experience in the coming years due to population explosion. We would require more economical sources of energy to help sustain the livelihood of the billions of people in our nation. This is merely just considered a start towards making our planet a better place to live in.

Hence, our nation is preparing itself to counteract several climate change phenomena by shifting to safer and cleaner modes of energy production. We must in every possible way either contribute our part in this shift to a cleaner world or just co-operate with people involved in this process.

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