Geothermal systems are scalable, have low operating costs and allow the heat to be immediately used for electricity production or for heating or agricultural needs, but in Greece they completely unrealized.
The benefits of geothermal energy are numerous as they produce stable energy regardless of the weather and could help stabilize the European electricity grid, says a document from the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee. On the plus side, geothermal systems have the highest capacity factor of any renewable energy source (80%) and produce low greenhouse gas emissions.
However, large-scale geothermal projects face significant challenges, with the committee citing long project development lead times, high upfront cost requirements, and the inability to access and secure financing through long-term purchase agreements (PPAs) as challenges. To the previous problems should be added lengthy permitting procedures. Another challenge is public awareness and acceptance, due to limited information about the new technology and concerns about land use, environmental and social impacts.
The European Parliament Committee states that geothermal electricity capacity represents only 0.5% of total renewable energy capacity, its contribution to grid stabilization can be mainly incremental or local.
When it comes to heating, it says that geothermal systems are scalable, have low operating costs, and allow direct use of heat. The use of geothermal heat pumps is highest in the USA, China, Sweden, Germany and Finland. The largest increases in geothermal heat pump installations in 2021 were observed in France (+73%), Austria (+59%), Belgium (+35%) and Germany (+10%). There are more than 2.19 million geothermal heat pumps in operation in Europe. Heat pumps can also be used to create geothermal batteries.
Forecasts for geothermal energy production predict strong growth. According to the International Energy Agency’s Sustainable Development Scenario, global geothermal capacity is expected to triple from 92 TWh in 2019 to 1,282 TWh in 2030. According to the European Geothermal Energy Council, there are 395 geothermal district heating systems in operation in Europe.
Nesjavellir geothermal power plant, Iceland
Benefits of Geothermal Energy
- It is renewable and has a low carbon footprint.
- Unlike variable renewable sources such as wind and solar, it can provide stable energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it is a good choice.
- As we develop more advanced technologies, the geothermal industry has potential for growth and exploration.
Research into geothermal zones in 4 areas of Northern Greece is reaching the home stretch
The creation of preliminary projects with proposals from candidates for participation in an international tender for the lease of the right to explore geothermal potential in four regions of Northern Greece has been completed, the publication reports. energy. We are talking about areas in the lower basin of the Struma River, the western delta of Nestos, Akropotamos in Kavala and the southern basin – the Evros delta.
In total, applicants submitted five dossiers, separately for each region. The tender evaluation commission, in the presence of representatives of the candidates, opened the envelopes with accompanying documents and will continue to evaluate the technical and financial proposals in accordance with the terms of the tender.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy is encouraging geothermal research with the aim of restarting electricity production – after a decade – in a new, completely renewed institutional framework.
At the same time, it supports efforts to use local geothermal deposits (temperatures from 30°C to 90°C) for the development of urban district heating networks and the organized distribution of thermal energy in primary sector units (e.g. greenhouses, fisheries, etc.). etc.), as well as for use in soft crafts – industrial activities.
Results of studies conducted in northern Greece. There is no less potential in the center and south, but it has been extremely little explored.
By according to industry expertsAnd, Greece has huge potential in geothermal energy, which will allow the country not only provide the economy and population with cheap, weather-independent electricity, but also export it to other countries in the region.
At the same time, the presence of conditions for the construction of geothermal stations on the islands of Greece will make it possible to solve the currently complex issue of energy security, allowing, among other things, to resolve complex issues related to the processing of blades for wind turbines and the disposal of degraded solar panels, which is currently one of the main limiting factors in the growth of renewable energy sources.
The country’s geothermal potential for 2023 is estimated at 1 gigawatt (GW) for electricity production and 2.5 GW for thermal energy production, and this is without any serious research, which, according to experts, will increase the potential of geothermal energy by at least 10 times .
Map of active volcanoes in Greece. Each of them can be used as a high-power geothermal power plant.
The National Energy and Climate Plan (ESEK) estimates that the installed capacity of geothermal power plants could reach 100 MW by 2030, but bureaucratic problems are constantly delaying the start date for geothermal plant construction. And without serious support from the country’s leadership, there is a high probability that the program could fail miserably.