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Geothermal energy is the internal heat stored within the earth. It can be used to generate power in geothermal heat pumps and geothermal power plants.
This form of power generation is popular in volcanic areas such as Iceland and can even be used on a small scale.
Iceland has many geothermal power plants and produced 170 MW geothermal power and heated 86% of all houses in the year 2000 through geothermal energy.
Accessing geothermal energy requires drilling down into the earth's crust to where it is much hotter. Water is then piped down to either be heated and used throughout a building or to produce steam for power generation. This wate is treated to allow it to operate at extreme conditions.
Although expensive to build geothermal systems are low cost and easy to maintain while in use.
Ground source heat pumps GSHP are a form of geothermal energy extraction using near surface level temperature gradients rather than high pressure steam and turbines.