Harnessing Geothermal Energy While Preserving Forests

In the world’s largest wet steam field, on the island of Leyte in the Philippines, a renewable energy project is generating 16% of the country’s heat and electricity needs. Hot water three kilometers beneath the earth is pumped through pipelines to power plants, where the steam drives turbines that generate electricity. The water is then re-injected into a reservoir beneath the earth’s surface for recycling, helping to achieve zero waste and pollution for the protection of local communities and the environment.

The Energy Development Corporation shares the economic value of the electricity production with the community by providing health care services and education, while protecting existing forests and reforesting bush and grasslands on the island.

Why you should care

Geothermal power plants have typically been installed in “colder” countries, such as Iceland. However, this solution illustrates that in warmer climates geothermal heat can also be used to generate electricity for agricultural and industrial applications. WWF estimates that by 2050, geothermal energy could account for around 58 million MWh of electricity per year globally, or around 3.5% of global electricity production. The Leyte project serves as a role model for sustainable geothermal power generation with almost zero CO2 emissions from operations.

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