Aug 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:55 AM EDT

Geothermal Energy May Lead To Tragic Earthquakes

Jun 10, 2019 09:45 AM EDT

geothermal energy
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What would you do if there was one energy source from the ground beneath you that you could use at any given day, rain or shine? The best part of this type of energy source is that it is carbon-free and that no burning of fossil fuel is needed. Who wouldn't grab on this opportunity, right? With the advent of climate change, everyone can benefit from using such type of energy.

There's really no need to imagine its existence because it is real. Several types of research suggest that geothermal energy be tapped as alternative energy to power the world. In fact, according to the memo released by ClearPath, an advocate of clean and conservative energy, they believe that geothermal energy could cover as much as 20% of the country's electricity needs. Doing so would put the United States at the same level as that of Iceland, who basically is dependent on underground heat for their power supply.

However, getting there is not going to be easy. It would require coordination with gas and oil companies for possible drilling techniques as well as the loosening of some of the government regulations on drilling that have been in place for a long time.

"Geothermal energy is one of the great alternative resources of energy, but it doesn't get as much attention as it should," said Spencer Nelson. He is the person in charge of ClearPath and the one that wrote the memo.

The US Congress might need to pass on regulatory reforms as well as budget subsidies to encourage the government to tap on more geothermal energy. However, there is always a downside to the good news. Fracking that's involved in the process of harnessing geothermal energy comes with its own risks, the earthquake. In South Korea, the building of a geothermal plant paved the way for a magnitude 5.4 earthquake in 2017. It injured roughly 135 people and caused major destruction in the surrounding communities.

The high pressure came from the process that needed to fracture the rocks for it to release the heat from underground. These spurred what was known as small earthquakes that paved for the stronger one. The small ones reached the nearby faults which caused the country's second largest earthquake to happen.

However, a recent paper said that if only the drilling would be done with the utmost care, there's no need to worry about a huge earthquake from happening. After all, no type of energy can be produced without risks. The trick is that people should find measures to lessen these risks and yet harness as much energy as they could.

"We need to take preventive measures if we still want to take on this," John White said. He is the director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology, a non-profit organization that focuses on alternative energy resources.

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