A resolution adopted by EU lawmakers calls for a European strategy to accelerate the deployment and investment in geothermal energy.
Complex national regulations, combined with time-consuming authorisation processes, are slowing down the deployment of geothermal energy, according to a resolution adopted last week by the European Parliament.
To address this, the resolution calls for a European strategy on geothermal energy, starting with the mapping of geothermal resources across the EU to ensure all data on the subsoil is gathered in one place and made accessible to the public.
The report by Polish lawmaker Zdzisław Krasnodębski for the nationalist ECR group was voted by an overwhelming majority (531 votes in favour and 2 against) at the Parliament’s plenary session on 18 January.
It calls for launching an industrial alliance on geothermal energy, and the introduction of a harmonised insurance scheme to mitigate financial risk for the sector.
“These subsurface resource risks and associated financial costs represent one of the major barriers for geothermal project developers,” Krasnodębski said in an explanatory note published with his report.
“Government policies that lower risks are therefore crucial to incentivise private sector financial investment,” he added.
The report encourages EU member states to develop national strategies for geothermal energy, following the example of France, Poland, and Ireland, which have drawn up specific policy measures to support this renewable energy source.
Finally, the resolution calls for additional support for regions that are economically dependent on fossil fuels, in order to enable them to make the transition to geothermal.
“Geothermal energy is vital not only for the energy transition, but for the just transition,” the report states, adding that “the potential of geothermal development using the infrastructure formerly used by hydrocarbon industry is not yet fully tapped by the member states”.
Geothermal energy, a tool for the energy transition
Geothermal energy is a reliable energy source that operates continuously, with fixed costs, the report underlines. Moreover, unlike other renewable energy technologies, geothermal installations do not require critical raw materials like rare earths, which are in short supply in Europe.
Geothermal energy is also listed among the strategic clean technologies under the Net-Zero Industry Act, alongside solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps.
Danish company Innargi is among those specialising in the financing, development, construction and operation of large-scale geothermal plants for district heating networks.
“Geothermal district heating can make a substantial contribution to achieving EU key strategic objectives: Reaching climate targets, bolstering the EU’s open strategic autonomy and eliminating fossil-fuel dependencies on unreliable third countries,” said Asbjørn Haugstrup, Innargi’s chief external relations officer.
The Danish company is currently building Europe’s largest geothermal power station for district heating in Aarhus, with a capacity of 110 megawatts. Once completed, the project will supply around 20% of the city with renewable heat.
“The decarbonisation of heating by means of district heating and geothermal energy should be high on the agenda of the next European Parliament and European Commission,” Innargi said.
The European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC), a trade association, welcomed the Parliament resolution, saying it has helped put geothermal energy on the EU policy radar. “The European Commission cannot ignore such a powerful endorsement,” it said.
“Future legislation will be a key role in developing this sector and unlocking its potential,” said Green MEP Ville Niinistö, cited by EGEC.