Environmental Effects of Geothermal Generation

Environmental effects of geothermal generation are land and wildlife disturbances, air and water quantity and quality. Much like wind and solar, prospective geothermal power plants must undergo extensive environmental impact reviews that mitigate many land and wildlife impacts. While geothermal plants can take up to several hundreds of acres of land during development, much of that land can be reclaimed and repurposed once construction is complete. Air and water effects depend largely on the type of technology and open/closed loop cycle utilized by the power plant. There are few emissions from binary, closed-loop geothermal power plants as the water and air vapors are re-injected into the production cycle. Open-loop cycle plants emit primarily carbon dioxide and some methane, although it is at an amount that is equivalent to 30 percent of a conventional coal plant.