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Why is geothermal energy important?

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Quick Answer

Geothermal energy is used to supply heat for industrial purposes. It may also be used to promote agricultural and aquaculture production in cold climates by heating soils, aquaculture ponds and greenhouses. In addition, high-temperature geothermal energy is used to generate electricity.

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Full Answer

Geothermal energy has been used for many years in various parts of the world for cooking and heating. Since time immemorial, humankind has utilized the geothermal energy that flows freely from underground reservoirs to the Earth’s surface. For instance, geothermal water was used by the Romans to treat different kinds of diseases, and to heat the city of Pompeii. For more than 10,000 years, the indigenous North Americans used geothermal water for cooking, as well as for medicinal purposes. Geothermal springs have been used for washing and bathing in Iceland. Modern uses of geothermal energy includes heating and cooling of buildings. This is achieved through the use of geothermal pumps that make use of shallow resources. Geothermal energy is also used to directly heat structures.

The word “geothermal” is derived from two Greek words: “geo” which means "Earth" and “thermal” which means "heat." Geothermal energy is a source of power derived from the Earth’s internal heat. It is contained within the rocks and fluids beneath Earth’s crust. Geothermal energy may be obtained anywhere from shallow ground to several miles beneath the surface. Other renewable energy sources include wind, wave, biomass and solar power.

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