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Geothermal Energy Basics: Subsurface Environmental Considerations

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All energy sources have at least some environmental impact, although these impacts vary significantly in their intensity, persistence and form. Geothermal is considered by many to have the least impact of any energy source. The highlights of geothermal energy’s environmental advantages are lower lifecycle carbon emissions, a small surface footprint and low potential for water contamination. The main environmental concerns related to geothermal development and operations are the impact on water (consumption, contamination, and disposal) and the potential for induced seismicity and land subsidence.

This lesson is also included in the Geothermal Energy Basics Full Course.