Geothermal energy is right under our feet. The Earth's core is like an inner sun, heating the Earth's surface and warming the water and rocks just beneath. This steam water and rock can be used to generate heat and electricity. The uppermost six miles of the Earth's crust alone contains more energy than all the oil and gas reserves in the world. Geothermal resources are reliable and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The United States leads the world in geothermal electricity capacity and generation, with most of the infrastructure to capture that power installed in California. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that geothermal power plants can provide 15,000 megawatts of new capacity within the next decade.
How does it work?
The most common form of geothermal power plant, a flash steam plant, uses high-pressure pumps to send naturally heated water from under the ground to electricity generation equipment at the surface.