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GEOTHERMICA - ERA NET Cofund Geothermal

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GEOTHERMICA (GEOTHERMICA - ERA NET Cofund Geothermal)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

The GEOTHERMICA ERA-NET Cofund (GEOTHERMICA) is a five-year action financed under the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation. This action, operating from 2017 to 2021, builds on the work of the GEOTHERMAL European Research Area Network (GEOTHERMAL ERA-NET) which started in 2012 and ended in November 2016.
ERA-NET COFUND is an instrument under Horizon 2020, the objective being to support public-public partnerships between Member States and Associated Countries, including joint programming initiatives and joint calls. The project is funded under the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2016-17 «Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy» and specifically the topic «Joint Actions towards the demonstration and validation of innovative energy solutions».

GEOTHERMICA aims to support transnational, collaborative innovation projects in geothermal energy through joint calls. GEOTHERMICA also carries out other joint activities which will enhance the coordination of national and regional public research and innovation programmes and improve the exploitation of results of the projects funded.
Fourteen European countries have joined forces to make funds available for research and innovation actions related to geothermal energy. The initiative is under the umbrella of GEOTHERMICA - ERA NET Cofund Geothermal and supported financially by the European Commission.

The ambition of GEOTHERMICA is to accelerate the deployment of geothermal energy in Europe via transnational funding aimed at industry-led geothermal energy applications through targeted innovation and research activities.

The budget made available for the first joint Call of GEOTHERMICA, from each national and regional funding agency was a total of approximately €25 million. In addition, the European Commission contributes up to €7.7 million to the call.

In addition to the Joint Call GEOTHERMICA is built on the process started by the GEOTHERMAL ERANET and contribute to establishing an active European knowledge community on geothermal energy, which encompasses all stages of the innovation chain, from research to deployment, and crosscutting themes. Therefore a special work package is dedicated to additional activities and knowledge sharing and runs in parallel to the transnational call.
The work in the first twelve months focused in getting the project underway, preparing and launching the co-funded joint call and mobilise the consortium into activities defined by the GEOTHERMICA work plan. The work packages (WPs) detail the specific objectives for the work defined for each of the WPs. This report gives an overview of the progress towards the main GEOTHERMICA objectives through the individual progress reporting by the WPs.

Management of the GEOTHERMICA cofund action is the responsibility of Orkustofnun which is the leader of Work package 1. The responsibilities of Orkustofnun are to coordinate all GEOTHERMICA consortium activities and to ensure proper functioning of the project.

The GEOTHERMICA office is a support functionality to the coordinator and the consortium management team. Since GEOTHERMICA´s kick-off in January 2017, the project passed its first milestones and the GEOTHERMICA Office had completed its tasks in accordance with the grant agreement. The office supported the coordinator and the consortium management team in implementing the co-fund action to ensure optimal, flexible and smooth operation of all activities. The GEOTHERMICA Office team assisted in running the office with tasks to be prepared for the coordinator, organized and developed the external and internal communication, operated the call secretariat on behalf of Rannis, and supported the implementation of additional activities within work package seven.

Rannis established and tested the electronic submission system (ESS) which opened on 1 June 2017. Rannis is an established funding agency long versed in setting-up and running calls. This experience proved invaluable.

The Call Text was published on 10 April 2017 as part of the GEOTHERMICA Call Text and Guideline for Applicants. The deadline for pre-proposals was set to 10 July 2017. In compliance with H2020 rules GEOTHERMICA’s first call follows a 2-stage application process. GEOTHERMICA’s ESS received 35 submissions in response to the first call for pre-proposals for innovative demonstrations and technology development projects that accelerate geothermal energy deployment. The eligibility check of the pre-proposals was conducted during the 2017 summer period. In early September 2017, eligible applicants were invited to the second stage and to submit full proposals by 24 November 2017. 15 proposals had been invited to submit a full proposal which were subjected to a second stage eligibility check necessary for the evaluation by an independent group of external evaluators, the Board of External Evaluators. The Board of External Evaluators performed their duties culminating in a meeting on 14 and 15 March 2018 when the ranked list of projects was established. The GEOTHERMICA Board met twice to make available additional national and regional funding so that by April 2018 9 projects were awarded and invited to sign the contracts before 1st of May 2018.
GEOTHERMICA – ERA NET Cofund has selected nine high quality transnational projects on geothermal energy for funding. The total investment in the projects is close to € 50 million. About half is funded by GEOTHERMICA and the other half comes from project partners. As soon as all contracts have been signed, the projects will be announced at the GEOTHERMICA website.

Projects cover a broad range of topics such as heat storage, managing induced seismicity, EGS drilling and completion, production operations, composite casing and integrated applications of geothermal heat. They have participants from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Ireland, France, Flanders, Denmark, Slovenia, Germany, Spain, Italy and Azores Portugal.

Funding of € 18 million for the projects comes from existing national and regional research and innovation programmes and is topped-up by a financial contribution from the EC of more than € 6 million. In 2017, GEOTHERMICA called for innovative demonstration projects and technology development projects that accelerate geothermal energy deployment. Further calls are anticipated.

This is the first series of GEOTHERMICA-funded projects that demonstrate and validate novel concepts of geothermal energy deployment within the energy system. They bring innovative geothermal energy solutions closer to commercial deployment.

Geothermal energy has great potential for the supply of heat and generation of electricity in Europe. European countries and the European Commission have combined their ambition in GEOTHERMICA to finance innovation in the geothermal energy sector. GEOTHERMICA thus enables unlocking of this European potential by research and innovation and further embeds geothermal into Europe's energy system. This is an important step in the journey towards the transition to a European energy supply free of greenhouse gas emissions.