A geothermal energy project in Tibet. (Photo/Xinhua)
China holds potential geothermal energy between 3,000 and 10,000 meters below the surface of the earth equal to 860 trillion tons of standard coal, a storage which is estimated to have a lifespan of 260,000 years using current figures for energy consumption.
The Ministry of Land and Resources underwent a national survey on the distribution of geothermal energy over the country between 2009 and 2011, re-evaluating the storage of shallow geothermal energy in 287 cities, geothermal energy in 12 sedimentary basins and 2562 hot springs regions, as well as the potential hot-dry-rock geothermal power at between 3,000 and 10,000 meters below the surface of the earth, reports our sister newspaper the China Times.
The results showed that the total shallow geothermal energy storage is commensurate with 9.5 billion tons of standard coal. The usable part is about 350 million a year, which can save 250 million tons of standard coal and reduce 500 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in a year if the energy is fully exploited and used.
The geothermal power in sedimentary basins is commensurate with 853 billion tons of coal, while the usable part for a year is equal to 640 tons of standard coal, which can reduce 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emission a year.
The survey found the total geothermal energy stored between 3,000 and 10,000 meters below the surface of the earth is about equal to 860 trillion tons of standard coal, which is 260,000 times China's total energy consumption a year.
Geothermal energy is a kind of renewable energy, originating from the original formation of the earth and radioactive decay of minerals. The ministry said the country is moving slowly to exploit the rich energy and need to push the reusable project soon.
A report by Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the United States only has to exploit 2% of its geothermal energy between 3,000 and 10,000 meters below the surface of the earth, which is able to offer electricity equal to 2,500 times the country's total electricity consumption a year.