Geothermal EnergyWritten By: Tristan Carrillo Alexandria Urban Austin ThompsonWhat is it?
Geothermal energy is the process of using natural resources, such as heat, steam, or water from the earth. Using natural produced steam requires drilling into a pocket of steam that is produced by the earth’s own heat. This heat mostly comes from active volcanoes. These volcanoes produce the heat from the magma below the surface, this is the closest that the magma can get to the surface without being visible. The magma in return heats up pockets of water converting them to steam. This steam is pumped into the turbine in order to power it, by this time the steam has cooled down. When the steam cools down it is sometimes pumped back into the well to be rehabilitated back into steam to where it can be harness once again.



The turbines that are used are very similar to the turbines used in traditional power plants. This is because power plants also run on steam to power the turbines in which electricity is produced. Coal power plants use coal to heat up water to its boiling point in order to create steam and power a similar turbine for electricity. The other components such as generators, transformers, and other standard power generating equipment are very much the same.



“Geothermal energy creates less environmental pollution, is renewable and sustainable, avoids importing energy resources, benefits remote areas, adds to energy sources diversity, creates less waste disposal and has a long life span” (Seidtke).

The History of Geothermal Energy

1800 - 1850:

When European settlers moved westward across the continent, they found these springs of warmth and vitality. Thus in 1807, the first European visited the Yellowstone area, John Colter, who most likely encounter hot springs named this place "Colter's Hell." In 1807, settlers founded a city of Hot Springs in Arkansas, where in 1830 Asa Thompson charge a dollar for someone to use the three spring-fed baths in a tub. Therefore the first commercial use of Geothermal energy occurred.
Lastly in 1847, a man named William Bell Elliot Stumbled upon a steaming valley just north of what is now San Francisco, California. Elliot believes that he has found what is the gates of hell.

1851 - 1900:

Some of these Geysers were developed into spa's. One specifically called The Geysers Resort Hotel. Some of the guest that visited included Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain.
Many homes were built close to these springs to take advantage of the natural heat source. But the construction of the Hot Lake Hotel near La Grande, Oregon, marks the first time that these springs were used on a very large scale.
And lastly, in the 1900's Hot Springs water was piped into homes in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

1901 - 1950

A man named John D. Grant drilled a well in a Hot Spring in hopes of generating energy from this natural resource. Which was unsuccessful. But later on, about a year, Grant tried the same thing at another site, which was a success. Thus the United states first ever Geothermal Power Plant was put into effect. Grant used steam from the first well to create the next and so and so forth. He was able to produce 250 kilowatts of electricity, which was enough to power the buildings and streets of the resort. However, the plant couldn't compete against other sources of power and soon fell into disuse.
Later on Geothermal technology moved east when a professor named Carl Nielsen of Ohio State University developed the first ground-source heat pump. (See below) He put this
contraption to use at his residence.
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First Ground-Source Pump. (1948)

1951 - 1960:

The country's first large-scale geothermal electricity-generating plant begins operation.

1961 - 1970:

The Geothermal Resources Council wants to encourage the development of Geothermal resources world wide. Lastly, there was a Geothermal Steam Act that was enacted which allows the Secretary of Interior with the power to lease public land and other federal lands for geothermal exploration.

1971 - 1980:

A Geothermal Energy Association was created which included U.S companies that generate geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power.

1981 - 2000:

Geothermal fluids were used in a project for gold recovery.
Also, the world's first hybrid geopressure-geothermal power plant begins operation

Ups and Downs
1. Renewable

2. Valuable
3. Usable
4. Plenty of it
1. Expensive
2. Hard to extract
3. Possibly Hazardous
Map of Geothermal Power Plants in New Mexico
external image NMCommunities.gif

Work Cited:
U.s. environmental protection agency. (2008, November 14). Retrieved from

(2012). Home energy comparison. (2012). [0]. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Energy. (2012, March 30). Retrieved from

Web ecoist. (2008, November 26). Retrieved from

Geothermal Technologies Program: A History of Geothermal Energy in the United States. (n.d.). U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Home Page. Retrieved December 14, 2012, from