Friday, May 23, 2008

Cost and Environmental Benefits

Motivation: Cost Benefits

As stated in the US Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website: "Idaho provides
individuals with income tax deductions for alternative energy devices installed in their homes. Qualifying devices include renewable energy systems using geothermal resources such as geothermal heat pumps and water source heat pumps. The entire cost (100%) of the residential geothermal energy system can be deducted from the taxable income up to a maximum of $20,000. However, the deduction cannot exceed $5,000 in any one year. Forty percent of the total cost to construct and install the system can be deducted in the year the device was put into service, and 20% for the next three years. Contact for details" ( par. 12).

Motivation: Environmental Benefits

As with any natural resource, the potential of over exploitation is real, note however, that when geothermal heat is used in a sustainable manner the impact on the environment can be diminished.

The table below was found at: where they sited the original source as Lunis and Breckenridge (1991). As the International Geothermal Association notes, the "probability and severity of potential environmental impact of direct-use projects" [Geothermal] range from low (L), moderate (M), to high (H).

Impact Probability of Occurring Severity of Consequences
Air quality pollution L M
Surface water pollution M M
Underground pollution L M
Land subsidence L L to M
High noise levels H L to M
Well blow-outs L L to M
Conflicts with cultural and archaeological features L to M M to H
Social-economic problems L L
Chemical or thermal pollution L M to H
Solid waste disposal M M to H

In the early 30's Iceland burned fossil fuels for their main source of energy, fuels that were imported no less. Today, Iceland is known for their use of geothermal energy and some of the cleanest (air quality) cities in the world.

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