Have you heard something about Geothermal or how much geothermal energy cost? As a research student, now and then, I have to gain knowledge about different subjects and make a research report. Moving along the same road, I chose renewable energy sources as my research topic.
The government is making a continuous effort to influence people to shift from non-renewable sources of energy to renewable ones. Geothermal energy heats energy from the earth. Reservoirs of hot water that are human-made or natural, existing at different temperatures and depths, are recognized as geothermal resources.
One of the most important uses of geothermal energy is the pasteurization of milk. Other uses include heat buildings, growing plants in greenhouses, as a hot water resource in fish farming, etc.
Although we are using this renewable energy source for large-scale undertakings, a large amount of initial investment is a concern that affects both industrial and residential users of geothermal energy. A question that arises in the owner’s mind before installing a geothermal energy setup is- How much this geothermal energy cost?
Moving through the article, I will equip you with all the answers and information regarding Geothermal energy and compare it with other fossil fuels.
How Much Geothermal Energy Cost? Expensive!!
As said earlier, capital or initial investment is a major worry for geothermal energy owners. Although this high initial cost encircles all the factors, such as new equipment, professional drilling, and solar heat pump installation system, initial capital is still around $10,000 to $80,000, which is comparatively high. Many factors contribute to this large sum of capital. Here let me list down a few of them-
Cost of Property- Geothermal energy setup requires a larger send area. Therefore amount per square footage area is also high. The bigger the property, the higher the price.
Type of system- Geothermal energy plants can be set up in three forms, out of which two are home installation types, one is open loop, and the other one is a closed loop system. Both the loop types have various pipe laying conditions—the more complicated the setup of loops, the higher the cost. Also, a complex pipeline setup requires a high drilling price.
Plot Size- If the plot size is smaller, it can only adjust a vertical loop unit which is very expensive, whereas adjusting a horizontal loop unit requires at least 0.25 acres of land. The upfront cost is also affected by the type of installation, which in turn is affected by the plot size.
Home Insulation- Professionals also examine the house for good insulation, reducing the setup cost. Those residential homes with promising insulation require a smaller setup due to higher heat absorption efficiency.
Necessary Modifications- This point comes into being when the house is old or damaged and requires repairing or replacing, or modifying pipes, ducts, or wiring systems for adjusting the pump. A landscape repair is necessary for closed vertical or horizontal loop systems. Moving the sprinkles will do the work in this case.
An Add-On feature offered by some firms known as a desuperheater tank system will add up to your initial cost to around $1,4000 – $3,000.
Cost of Geothermal Energy vs Fossil Fuels
For more than 150 years, Fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal have been regarded as the most preferred energy source. As a result, Homes and buildings are fitted with furnace heating systems. In the paragraph below, I have compared various aspects of fossil fuels with geothermal energy.
Although a furnace will use minimum electricity but will need more energy load from a fossil fuel source for its work, while speaking about geothermal energy uses a significant amount of energy to push the free heat from the ground toward the property, increasing electricity bills. This is why people think Fossil fuels are more cost-efficient than geothermal energy sources.
An important factor to be kept in mind is the continuous and significant increase in fossil fuel prices worldwide, resulting in its immense effect on utility bills. Although there are ups and downs in prices, downs are very minimal. Thereby concluding that more money will be spent on a gallon of gas, oil, or any fossil fuel than on geothermal resources.
What is LCOE?
Levelized Cost Of Energy (LCOE) is an energy-yielding measurement that is more thorough as it evaluates all the fixed or variable costs. The unit evaluates the lifetime cost of buildings, homes, or power plants divided by the energy generated.
Thereby comparing various technologies efficiently. The result generated by LCOE gives the amount the owner requires to regain the costs in a lifetime of technology or system. The results are in terms of average income per unit of electricity produced.
LCOE is considered more useful in large-scale industries but may be considered for homes, also. The values will alter while evaluating a house due to its small size. After evaluating various reports, I observed that LCOE is minimal in the case of geothermal energy.
Is Geothermal Energy Cost Effective?
From the above discussion and evaluation, geothermal energy is not pocket-friendly for homeowners as it requires a large investment and high installation costs, and geothermal heat pumps, would cost high enough. Geothermal energy could be more cost-effective but cost-efficient.
As a renewable source of energy, geothermal resources are for a lifetime.
A good return will be generated on investment on a long-run basis, roughly 20% higher than any other system, whether heating or cooling. Also, this source of energy ensures a higher valuation of the property. In various countries, the government also encourages installing geothermal energy by providing support in the form of incentives.
Is Geothermal Energy Worth It?
Every source of energy that provides power to run a home, office, or building has pros and cons, as is the case with geothermal energy. But this energy source will give you high returns if installed, used, and maintained efficiently for longer. Also you can power your office and house with solar power as well. An important fact to remember while installing a geothermal setup is selecting an efficient company with valid accreditation and a team of professionals with experience. An energy star rating unit also helps in cutting down electricity usage.
An additional benefit can be gained by installing a solar and geothermal energy setup only after considering the budget. Adding up these two setups together will save more of your bills as solar energy setup has shown a significant decrease in electricity bills in past years.
Frequently Asked Questions:-
- What is the cost of geothermal energy per kWh?
The cost depends on the efficiency of the power plant. While running at 90% availability, 1-3 cents per kWh will be spent, whereas the amount will increase at 97% to 98% running capacity. Most of the charges are $0.03 to 0.035 per kilowatt-hour. Charges also boost in peak seasons of summer and winter—cost increases in the case of newer power plants, i.e. $0.05 per kWh.
- What is more cost-efficient:- geothermal heating or cooling?
While speaking of heating systems, a 30% to 70% cut down in annual utility is observed, whereas the cooling systems will help you cut down up to only 20% to 50% of your bill. Since hot water becomes readily available during summer, the system uses the heat extracted from the home to raise the temperature of the water. A pump with a desuperheater can cut down costs by 50%.
To know what is geothermal heating with this as well.
- How much does geothermal energy cost monthly for a household?
Evaluating the exact monthly expenditure for geothermal energy takes a lot of work. There are many factors like a thermostat, aircon usage, heating system, the efficiency of heat pumps, and house size.
- How expensive is geothermal heating?
According to a report on operating costs by Dandelion Energy, running a heating system and having a pump with 4% efficiency will amount to roughly $114 per month. Whereas while running a cooling system, a geothermal heat pump having a 19% efficiency will amount to $18. 2 a month.
The Final Words
If you want to walk hand in hand with the changing world and environmental problems are a concern, opting for geothermal energy is the best solution.
Geothermal systems, on a long-term investment, will save up to 70% of your utility bills. With the rise in the cost of Fossil fuels day by day, this energy source is a relief to many homeowners and industry owners.
Concluding with my final words, Through this article, I am ensured that I have answered all your queries and concerns regarding geothermal energy. However, I suggest you consult a professional for detailed information about your needs and conditions.
Ray is an avid reader and writer with over 25 years of experience serving various domestic and multinational private and public energy companies in the USA.