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European network on geothermal energy

An EU-funded initiative helped deepen and enlarge European collaboration on geothermal energy, helping to minimise fragmentation of research in this field.

Energy

Geothermal energy for power generation is a safe and environmentally friendly energy source achieved by digging out the heat stored within the Earth’s surface. Despite its advantages, it is not widely used in Europe given that it is not readily accessible in many countries. Promoting high diversification of the energy mix should benefit countries that rely on increasingly costly oil. It would also be an important step towards mitigating climate change. Certain countries in Europe where geological conditions are exceptionally favourable, such as Iceland and Italy, have already harnessed this natural heat source for power generation. Through numerous projects, other countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland have also started to work on new approaches to exploit this energy source. The EU-funded project GEOTHERMAL ERA NET was aimed at strengthening cooperation amongst national programme managers and administrators with a view to helping them set up a framework for a common platform and agenda. GEOTHERMAL ERA NET focused on direct use and higher enthalpy uses of geothermal energy. A major project achievement was the creation of a European Geothermal Information Platform whose main goals are to coordinate national activities and facilitate access to geothermal data at transnational level. The project also focused on the formulation of a common European action plan for geothermal energy research, development and deployment that should help Member States prepare and implement joint activities. In total, seven joint activities covering different topics were carried out. GEOTHERMAL ERA NET succeeded in engaging key stakeholders from industry, research organisations and governments. This will further reduce fragmentation of transnational research activities and policies and will maximise synergies. Existing technology platforms will be mobilised and large-scale projects that would not be possible to carry out at national level will be supported. The project group met five times and organised two workshops on the state-of-the-art geothermal database and needs, and on a geothermal database feasibility study. GEOTHERMAL ERA NET work is expected to contribute to an indigenous European energy supply that is reliable, affordable and sustainable.

Keywords

Geothermal energy, power generation, energy mix, GEOTHERMAL ERA NET, enthalpy

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