image credit: William W Nazaroff (2005); image source; larger image
The Geothermal Power Plant
The above photo shows the Nesjavellir geothermal plant in Iceland, which produces power and hot water for the towns surrounding it. To learn more about how the plant works, see this site from the University of Rochester.
Iceland sits astride the mid-Atlantic ridge, where two tectonic plates are moving apart at about two and a half centimeters per year. Magma--molten rock--wells up in between the plates and heats the bedrock under Iceland. The bedrock heats the groundwater that the plant pipes to the surface to make a mixture of steam and brine (salt water).
For more on tectonic plates and Iceland, including a volcanic island nearby that was formed in 1963, see Physics to Go, Issue 55.
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U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Beyond the search for renewable energy sources, a complementary approach is to save energy by using it more efficiently. See this California state government website to find out how changes to your home and your lifestyle can help. To learn more, visit U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy and click on the links under "Renewable Energy" and "Energy Efficiency" on the right.