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Geothermal energy picks up momentum in EU energy landscape, experts highlight

Policymakers and industry experts highlighted increased interest in developing geothermal energy across the European Union, during the “Unlocking Geothermal Potential in the EU” conference on Friday (12 April) in Poznań, organised by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

Opening the conference, Poland’s Chief National Geologist Professor Krzysztof Galos noted that his country plans to promote geothermal energy development as part of its EU presidency term starting January 2025. Highlighting the importance of raising awareness of geothermal energy, Viktor Horváth, Hungarian Deputy State Secretary for Energy Transition, also noted Hungary’s plans to place geothermal energy on the EU agenda as part of its EU presidency, which begins this July.

“I strongly believe that the engine for developing geothermal energy is now picking up momentum,” said Professor Galos. In addition, Professor Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Member of the European Parliament, said that Poland’s geothermal strategy is praised in Brussels.

During a panel discussion on prospects for further geothermal energy development on the EU level, Professor Zdzisław Krasnodębski MEP noted that this policy area is especially important for Poland and its just transition regions. He noted that geothermal energy could be a good opportunity for post-coal mine areas with the possible synergies between geothermal energy and the oil, gas and coal sectors.

Poland’s appetite for geothermal energy: re-thinking diversification of supply

 

Barbara Głowacka, Member of the Cabinet of Kadri Simson (EU Commissioner for Energy) said that it is “absolutely clear” that we need all renewable energies to contribute to the “renewables revolution.” She noted that geothermal energy is available across all EU Member States, making it easier to promote on the EU level.

At the same time, Ms Głowacka pointed to high upfront costs and public acceptance as the key challenges for further development. “[…] We hear from people – will it affect my drinking water?” she said, noting that there are no major signs that these fears could be substantiated. “Public acceptance is one of the crucial elements that would allow quicker permitting,” she added.

“We need regulatory visibility,” said Sanjeev Kumar, Head of Policy, European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC), more EU policymakers need to start talking about geothermal, he explained.“…if Ursula von der Leyen would mention geothermal at least once, people would ask what is geothermal?”

Mr Kumar noted that planning and lack of access to data by local authorities are among the major bottlenecks for developing geothermal energy. Highlighting ways to alleviate high risk and high upfront costs associated with developing geothermal energy plants, EGEC’s Head of Policy said that more private competition would drive down costs and an insurance scheme, referencing a risk insurance scheme in France, would strongly encourage local authorities to pursue geothermal energy projects.

Earth as potentially the largest energy source – interview with EGEC’s President, Miklos Antics

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