Amidst the current energy crisis, geothermal energy can offer a renewable and affordable source, for a local and secure energy supply to households and industries. In addition, geothermal reservoirs can also act as storage sites.
According to the European Commission, switching from fossil fuels to geothermal energy can decarbonise up to 25 per cent of the EU population’s energy needs and reduce energy bills. Furthermore, geothermal power plants could provide up to 10 per cent of Europe’s power demand.
Geothermal has been experiencing significant market growth all over Europe, notably in the heating sector. In terms of the overall capacity installed for geothermal heat pumps, the market was still dominated by Germany and Sweden which represent half the installed geothermal heat pumps in Europe. The city of Munich by itself has allocated 1 billion euros for future geothermal district heating development. Indeed, Germany was chosen to host the European Geothermal Congress 2022 (EGC).
“Through the RePowerEU plan, the Commission has set out a broad set of measures to strengthen not only the response to high energy prices but also directly to reduce our dependency on Russian fossil fuels through supply diversification and also by accelerating the clean energy transition,” said Jorg Wojahn, Head of Representation of the European Commission in Berlin at the opening session of the conference.
“To move at speed in addressing the growth of geothermal, partnerships and collaboration is required between the technology developers and service providers developers as well as the government, not to mention inter-government cooperation to implement solutions that span countries and not just companies,” pointed out Ajit Menon, Vice President Geothermal of Baker Hughes.
For Miklos Antics, President of the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC), geothermal energy is the answer to the energy challenges that Europe is facing today as it brings the security of supply, flexibility and resilience to the energy system.
“We need to acknowledge that the energy transition needs planning to ensure a successful phasing out of fossil fuels and the affirmation of new business models driving further geothermal deployment,” he added. “Only when industry, policymakers, science and communities come together, we can develop the instruments for a more sustainable future.”
In terms of regional developments related to geothermal energy, the Hungarian Ministry of Innovation announced a call to support projects focusing on the utilisation of geothermal energy, last year. Interestingly, Hungary is considered to have a huge potential for geothermal energy which is currently largely untapped and if correctly exploited, it could also effectively support the country’s goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.