Learn more about geothermal energy by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy's "Geothermal" Web site, https://energy.gov/science-innovation/energy-sources/renewable-energy/geothermal. Find useful information on geothermal technology, educational requirements, and career options by visiting the Web sites of professional associations such as the Geothermal Resources Council, https://geothermal.org. Read industry publications such as the Geothermal Resources Council Bulletin (http://www.geothermal.org/bulletin.html) to learn more about trends in the field. A tour of a geothermal power plant is a great way to see the facilities and ask questions about the work. Ask your science teacher or career service's office for help in setting up a tour and an information interview with a geothermal power plant worker.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey conduct research in the field and provide helpful resources for those interested in learning more about geothermal energy.
The direct use of geothermal energy can also be used to generate electricity. Geothermal heat comes from the heat within the earth. Water heated from geothermal energy is tapped from its underground reservoirs and used to heat buildings, grow crops, or melt snow. Most water and steam reservoirs are located in the western United States. However, dry rock drilling, a process that drills deeper into the earth’s magma, is an innovation that will eventually allow geothermal projects to be undertaken almost anywhere.
Geothermal energy resources are developed in the following phases: start-up, exploration, drilling, plant design and construction, and operation and maintenance. Geothermal production managers work in the operation and maintenance field, making sure that geothermal power plants are operating correctly, efficiently, and safely.
They manage and monitor the equipment in geothermal power plants, ensuring that operations, maintenance, and repairs are completed in accordance with industry standards and regulations. They may select the production systems for the power plants, such as corrosion control or mitigation systems. They regularly inspect equipment and workers to make sure all are operating properly. Geothermal production managers also develop operation plans and schedules, create and manage operations budgets, and review, record, and report operations data.
The job requires knowledge of machines and equipment, strong technology skills, and interpersonal abilities. Geothermal production managers use various software programs throughout the workday, including calendar and scheduling software to manage employees, database user interface and query software such as Infostat RIMBase, and e-mail, spreadsheet, and word processing software.