Geothermal energy,a relatively benign energy source when compared with other energy sources due to reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, is used for electricity generation and direct utilization. Turkey has a place among the first seven countries in the world in the abundance of geothermal resources, but it has only used about 4% of its potential. The paper presents the status of energy needs and renewables, potential, utilization and the importance of geothermal energy in Turkey. It also gives a comparison between geothermal energy and other energy sources regarding environmental issues. It is estimated that if the geothermal heating potential alone in Turkey is used, 5 million residences will be heated and as a result, releases of 48 million ton/year CO2 emissions into the atmosphere will be prevented. In addition to this, if the other geothermal potential (i.e. electricity) is used it will provide considerable environmental benefits. Therefore, it is expected that geothermal energy development will significantly speed up in the future. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.