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Environmental Impact

  • Robert Bowen

Abstract

The consequences of exploitation may affect the site of a geothermal resource, but also spread outside it, depending upon the type of field, how it is exploited, and the geological and ecological framework in which it occurs. The high-temperature areas from which electric power is produced usually possess adverse chemical components. Normally, these are less deleterious to the surroundings than other types of thermal, nuclear or hydroelectric plants. On the other hand, even less severe effects arise from low-temperature areas most useful for direct application for space heating or process heat and located near urban or industrial consumers. Practically always, such associated activities as laying roads, drilling wells, installing pipelines and erecting power plants have a great influence on land utilization in any particular region. Whilst hydroelectric plants entail enormous construction work and other types of thermal power plant require considerable industrial support such as mines, transportation facilities and processing plants, geothermal power production is characterized by having every phase of the fuel cycle situated at the site. Thus the area of environmental impact of hydroelectric power plants extends a long distance from the actual power-generating plant, in contrast with the zone of influence of geothermal plants. In addition, geothermal plants constitute relatively clean energy sources and cannot have the potential for catastrophic failure which is such an inevitable adjunct of nuclear power plants.

Keywords

Cooling Tower Geothermal Field Geothermal Energy Geothermal Reservoir Geothermal Resource 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Bowen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyWestfälische Wilhelms-UniversityMünsterFederal Republic of Germany

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