Geothermal energy is heat stored underground. Unlike many other renewable energy sources, geothermal energy is not built up by the sunlight (areas close to the surface might be a small exception). Instead, this technology uses the heat from inside the earth to generate power.
Geothermal installations use ground heat for space heating or for electricity generation (if the temperature is high enough).
Annual electricity output from geothermal plants accounts for about 56,800 GWh worldwide, i.e. 0.3% of total global electricity production. Northern American countries (US and Mexico) and south east Asia (Philippines, Indonesia) are forerunners in this field. In Europe, Italy is one of the main users of geothermal energy (cf. the figure below; source: geothermie.ch). The five largest producers worldwide own close to 80% of all geothermal capacity (~8900 MWel).
On our German pages you will find a list of websites that provide more in-depth information on power from geothermal energy – technical details, potentials etc.