Geothermal energy helps Europe eliminate coal and gas – The Washington Post

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Energy

Comment on this storyCommentGift ArticleCIGLENA, Croatia — Hidden in the rolling hills of the Croatian countryside, a futuristic structure that looks a little like a flying saucer is what backers say is the hope for the region’s emissions-free future.In a part of Europe that still generates much of its electricity by burning natural gas and coal, some green advocates say they should look deep beneath their feet to harness the power of the earth’s core. Croatia and its neighbors sit on top of a patch of unusual geology where the vast heat at the center of the world has an especially easy time coming close to the surface.The result is a high concentration of potential emissions-free geothermal energy, one that can form the base of a carbon-free electricity grid, unlike wind and solar power, which don’t typically generate power around-the-clock. The UFO-like Velika Ciglena geothermal plant is the first of its kind in Croatia, and backers believe the technology could eventually power much of the country’s needs, as well as in neighboring countries that have similar geology, such as Austria, Hungary and Serbia.Advertisement“There is a huge potential to generate a lot of electricity out of this. There is a huge potential for district heating. And there is a huge potential for agriculture,” said Marijan Krpan, the chief executive of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, the state agency that oversees drilling in the country. Krpan said he hopes geothermal energy could eventually generate a third of the country’s power demand.Geothermal energy’s backers are gaining momentum around the world, as the technology improves and societies seek every avenue to reduce the emission of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Among other virtues, advocates say, geothermal energy has a relatively small footprint, generating far more electricity per square foot than either wind or solar power, both of which require a lot of land to create power in any quantity. And geothermal power doesn’t have the same waste or safety risks as nuclear energy, a rival emissions-free source for electricity.So advocates are advancing geothermal projects around the world, wherever the earth’s crust is conducive. In Paris, geothermal wells are heating elegant 19th-century apartment blocks. In the rugged mountains of eastern California, a major new geothermal power plant opened in August. In Iceland, a tiny island nation that sits atop countless hot springs, ge …

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