What You Should Know About the History of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy or the heat and energy coming from the Earth may be enjoying its newfound popularity right now, but it should be noted that this energy has been in use for thousands of years now.

As early as 10,000 years ago, it was known that the heat and the energy from the under the ground has been used for a number of applications.

Early civilizations are known to use the hot water taken from the hot springs for cooking, bathing and cleaning. Based on some records, it was also noted that the heat from the Earth is used for healing purposes. In about the same time, this form of energy was also tapped in North America for similar purposes. But it was in early 1800s where the use of geothermal energy in North America became more pronounced, and tracing the timeline will help the consumer understand how this form of energy resource became an important alternative energy right now.

History of geothermal energy in the United States

In the United States, the first commercial use of this energy happened in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1830. Asa Thompson made a business out of this energy resource as it charged one dollar for every use of the three-spring fed baths on the wooden tub. This led the popularity of spas and other similar businesses in the United States that made use of the heat coming from the Earth.

By 1847, something interesting happened in the history of geothermal energy as William Bell Elliot who is a member of the John C. Fremont’s survey party found a streaming valley in San Francisco California and thought that what he found was the gates of Hell. The start of the adoption and the development of geothermal power in the US happened in 1892. And this was the time when the world’s first district heating was adopted in Boise, Idaho. This service covered and serviced a substantial part of the area and these eventually serviced 200 homes and 40 businesses. This was considered unique and has held the record for 70 years, and right now this system was duplicated in many parts of the US and in order countries. To be exact, there are now roughly 17 of these geothermal districts. It is noteworthy to point out that the city of Reykjavik in Iceland is powered by geothermal energy coming from the North Atlantic Oceanic Ridge which is directly located under just below the island.

Other important highlights in geothermal history

• It was in the 1900s when the geothermal power plant was adopted and used to produce electricity. It was in Italy where the first geothermal power plant was designed and invented and this was courtesy of Prince Piero Ginori Conti. This is located in the Lardello dry steam field, and right now this is still in operation.

• In the United States, the first geothermal plant was opened in 1960 and this was located in The Geysers in the Sonoma County, California. Right now, there are 69 generating facilities in 18 sites in the country.

Right now, the researches and the explorations on geothermal continues. Geothermal equipments such as the geothermal heat pump are continuously improved in order to improve heating efficiencies. If in the past there must be drilling that should happen in order to source the heat, perhaps one day consumers will see energy and heat being recovered directly from the magma.