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Making geothermal projects a public matter

An EU-funded initiative launches the beta version of its services to facilitate European citizens’ involvement in geothermal projects.

Climate Change and Environment

How does one empower the European public to take part in geothermal energy projects? Through social engagement tools and alternative financing schemes, according to the EU-funded CROWDTHERMAL project. To help promote the development of Europe’s geothermal market, CROWDTHERMAL has been employing social media and crowdfunding schemes as a means of furthering citizen engagement. The project has now launched the beta version of its set of core services, offering recommendations on alternative financing, public engagement and financial risk mitigation for geothermal projects. As reported in the press release posted on the CROWDTHERMAL website, the project’s “core services will assist the geothermal sector, contributing thus to an accelerated market development in Europe and supporting the European Union’s 2030 climate and energy targets as well as the new REPowerEU plan, which aims at a greater strategic independence of Europe’s energy supply.”

A look at the services

For ease of reference, the core services are presented in three categories targeting geothermal project developers, local authorities and communities. One of the services provided is a decision tree offering a workflow with questions on social, environmental, financial and risk mitigation factors to help project developers and local authorities identify appropriate strategies for their projects. Community investors and project developers have access to an interactive guide to integrated finance in geothermal energy, enabling them to perform a self-assessment on financial and risk mitigation aspects to consider when developing a geothermal project. They can also make use of an implementation framework for community-based geothermal development. The implementation framework presents five fundamental aspects that need to be considered for projects developed by a community of citizens. Another service available to project developers is a toolbox for risk evaluation and mitigation that provides parameters for complete economic modelling of geothermal projects, with or without community funding. Community investors can also take advantage of a list of frequently asked questions and an information catalogue for self-learning that provides in-depth information on community financing, social aspects, risk mitigation and geothermal energy. Last but not least, community investors, project developers and local authorities all have access to a meta-database of geothermal projects that could be suitable for alternative financing schemes. Seeking feedback on its services, the CROWDTHERMAL team has now prepared a survey to assess users’ experience and general opinion of its tools. The survey is an important step towards making CROWDTHERMAL “a one-stop shop for enquiries about empowerment in geothermal projects through community funding,” according to the press release. Launched in 2019, CROWDTHERMAL (Community-based development schemes for geothermal energy) brings together 10 partners and 17 third parties covering 21 countries across Europe. It is coordinated by the European Federation of Geologists, Belgium. The project ends in December 2022. For more information, please see: CROWDTHERMAL project website


CROWDTHERMAL, geothermal, energy, community, project developer, local authority, financing, risk mitigation

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