U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Geothermal Technologies Office

How a Geothermal Power Plant Works (Simple)

Most power plants—whether fueled by coal, gas, nuclear power, or geothermal energyhave one feature in common: they convert heat to electricity. Heat from the Earth, or geothermal  Geo (Earth) + thermal (heat)  energy is accessed by drilling water or steam wells in a process similar to drilling for oil.

Geothermal power plants have much in common with traditional power-generating stations. They use many of the same components, including turbines, generators, transformers, and other standard power generating equipment. While there are three types of geothermal power plants, this animation shows a generic plant.



View text version of animation.