It is stored underneath our steps. Naturally generated and stored within the Earth itself, geothermal energy is an extremely precious resource. The department of Val de Marnes in the region of Ile de France in France has pioneered by capitalizing on it. Today, geothermal energy is providing heat at a cheaper rate to more than 150,000 homes in the area.
Non-polluting, renewable, reliable and equally sustainable, geothermal energy is proving to be amazingly advantageous. In Ile de France, drawn from the very bowels of Mother Earth, this clean energy is generating 1,373,000 MWh which is being utilized to heat up these homes. It has replaced fuel for heating, which would amount to 130,000 tons for the same task.
If Val de Marnes has gone ahead with this project it is because the Paris Basin which constitutes of the lowlands around Paris and is composed of sedimentary rocks prides itself in ideal geological conditions to support geothermal energy.
It is naturally present in the rocks and fluids underneath the crust of the Earth. Since in itself it is free and available immediately without the need to burn any fossil fuel for its extraction, it is furthermore inexpensive.
Unlike solar or wind energy, it is available 365 days a year…without exception
Even if it is found under our feet, the energy of the Earth is not necessarily exploitable everywhere. Other regions in France equally have the potential for the exploitation of geothermal energy but the geological structures are more complex for easy extraction.
For the region of Ile de France, it is synonymous to a gem- a wondrous asset waiting to be put to use. It is indeed the first renewable energy being taken advantage of in the region.
This energy has been subject to multiple experiments in terms of technical issues before it became an economically attractive heating mode, despite a highly competitive environment, thanks to technical improvements. Ile de France subsequently decided to diversify its resources in terms of energy to provide heat to houses and public buildings. It is extracted from 2,000m from within the Earth.
Today, the department has 36 operational plants with the majority located in Val de Marnes. It amounts to 40% of geothermal energy produced in the whole of France. Its network within the region is expanding like wildfire and it is expected that by 2025, more than 200,000 households will be able to rely on this type of energy.
Geothermal energy is already being utilized in over 20 countries with the United States being the leading producer. The largest cluster of geothermal power plants are located in The Geysers in California. Many American cities have a comprehensive network of pipes under roads and sidewalks with geothermal hot water flowing to melt the snow during winter.
Apart from heating homes and offices, geothermal water from deeper in the Earth are also used for growing plants in greenhouses, like in Auvergne, France. Iceland, for example, uses geothermal heat from underground reservoirs to generate electricity which is not only used to heat buildings but to ensure a cooling system as well.