WHAT ARE THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH GENERATING THERMAL ENERGY?
Thermal energy generation is one of the most inexpensive ways to generate electricity, but what are the costs associated with generating thermal power?
Generally, the costs associated with generating power can be split into two categories: fixed costs (also known as investment costs) and variable costs, which are incurred during the generation process. This division of costs is a useful way to compare different power sources in terms of the average cost per unit of power produced.
Fossil fuels, such as coal and natural oil, are the main energy sources used to produce thermal power. These fossil fuels are exhaustible resources, meaning that they will eventually deplete and must be replaced.
GEOTHERMAL HEAT AND STEAM
Geothermal energy is derived from the heat that is contained in the Earth’s core. It is an abundant source of energy that can meet most human needs and also creates many jobs in local communities.
It is considered a green source of energy because it does not cause environmental pollution and can be used in place of fossil fuels to produce power, as well as being a renewable resource that can be harvested for future use.
There are a few disadvantages to using geothermal energy, though. The most significant is that the geothermal field must be located in an area where temperatures below the ground are high enough to allow the production of steam over a long period. This requires extensive research to find such areas and is usually more difficult to do than for other types of power plants.
The second biggest disadvantage is that the geothermal field must be protected from environmental hazards. This means preventing the release of water into nearby rivers or streams, as well as keeping steam away from escaping chemicals.
gas processing factory
Another problem is that the heat from a geothermal field can create temperature differences in ponds, lakes, and streams. These temperature differences can affect ecosystems and may even affect cloud formations.
This can result in curtailment of power output or plant shutdowns during droughts and warm weather when air and water temperatures are too hot for cooling systems to dissipate the heat fast enough to keep plants running. It is possible to limit thermal pollution with effluent treatments that reintroduce cooling water back into the geothermal field.
These are some of the main disadvantages of using geothermal energy, but there are many other advantages as well. These include:
Unlike solar, hydroelectric, or wind turbines, geothermal systems can work at full capacity at all times and produce no noise. This is especially helpful for domestic systems that are installed in a home.
THE INITIAL CAPITAL COSTS FOR GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANTS CAN BE HIGH, BUT IF A GEOTHERMAL PLANT HAS A LONG LIFESPAN, IT WILL PAY FOR ITSELF IN THE FORM OF LOWER OPERATING AND MAINTENANCE EXPENSES. IT CAN BE CHEAPER TO OPERATE A GEOTHERMAL PLANT THAN A SOLAR POWER STATION OR A HYDROELECTRIC SYSTEM THAT ONLY OPERATES OCCASIONALLY.