Both are very clean sources of energy, as far as emissions in concerned. However, there is the issue of affecting river habitats that comes with hydroelectric power. Geothermal power, in turn, is not very efficient, so although hydro power comes with environmental repercussions, it also does more work to cut back on the need for more carbon-emitting fuel sources, like coal.
Each source of energy has its merits; both are clean sources that emit far fewer emissions than conventional methods of energy production. Hydroelectric power has recently come under scrutiny for having a negative impact on aquatic wildlife. Geothermal energy has fewer environmental impacts but can be costly to design and install and requires a large area to lay the piping system. Therefore, in terms of immediate effect on the landscape, geothermal energy is less damaging to the environment.
As a follow up to kristennoelle’s statement,”Geothermal energy… can be costly to design and install and requires a large area to lay the piping system.” I think it is necessary to give an alternative argument. First of all, yes, making geothermal energy widely available with current technology is an expensive prospect. Although, according to Energy Consumers Edge, “Drilling costs, on average, have dropped by a fourth in the last two decades.” In the near future technological improvements could make geothermal energy as economically viable as current environmentally damaging power generation methods. It must also be stated that, while it is true that a large amount of piping is used for geothermal plants, it does not require a large area of land because the piping goes down into the earth. As Energy Consumers Edge puts it, “Geothermal energy has the smallest land use of any major power generation technology.”
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