Friday, April 12, 2024
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Geothermal energy meets CEE energy needs

Have you ever heard of the metaphor reinventing the wheel? It is a commonly used phrase in the English language to indicate when somebody is wasting time by creating something that has already been created by someone else. It totally makes sense for a country that based its enormous economic growth on the Industrial Revolution.

However, this idiomatic expression changes from country to country. In Italy, we say: discovering hot water. Because ancient Romans and old empires already discovered and knew the benefits of hot water, used for bathing and therapeutic healing for centuries. Over time, new utilisations were applied to what was then called geothermal energy (which literally means energy from the Earth), from the agriculture sector to district heating and cooling.

Today we look at geothermal energy in another way: not only it is a renewable energy source, which is perfectly in line with our decarbonisation goals. But it is also a domestic resource for many countries in Central and Eastern Europe that otherwise would depend only on one supplier (for example, Russia). Today we have two main challenges in the energy industry: ensuring the security of supply and decarbonising our economies. And geothermal energy can help us solve both.

Competitive advantages

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the technical potential of hydrothermal geothermal resources is estimated at around 200 Gigawatt electrical (GWe) and over 5,000 gigawatts thermal (GWth), reason why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is projecting that geothermal energy to supply about 18 per cent of the world’s electricity demand and meet the electricity needs of 17 per cent of the world’s population.

Geothermal energy has also widespread uses: it occurs over a wide range of temperatures that enable it to be utilised as a renewable and clean energy for electricity generation and heat and cooling applications. In addition, critical minerals such as lithium can be extracted from geothermal brines.

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To read the full version of the article, download our third e-book about the potential of geothermal energy development in Central Eastern Europe.

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