Energy Efficiency

GEOTHERMICA – Unlocking Geothermal Energy Potential in the EU

GEOTHERMICA’s ambitious objective is to combine the financial resources and know-how of 16 geothermal energy research and innovation programme owners and managers from 13 countries and to launch joint actions that demonstrate and validate novel concepts of geothermal energy utilisation within the energy system that can be further developed with a view to full-scale commercialisation in mind.

Europe aims to increase the share of renewable energy for direct heating and cooling, industrial processes, power generation and energy storage. Geothermal energy today is only utilised in a few niche market sectors and a few regions but has the potential to be much more widely utilised. The EU-funded GEOTHERMICA project promises to play a big role in making this a reality.

In particular, the initiative aims at the direct use and power generation from geothermal resources in an optimised way, which includes integrated and combined systems (e.g. heat pumps and using the underground as a heating and cooling energy storage site).

GEOTHERMICA has moved to embark on the next step: to combine forces at the European level and realise significant developments on a big scale through a platform of jointly funded European research and development (R&D) projects. For a first call through the project, EUR 30 million was made available for a small number of major demonstration projects, with strong industry participation. Overall, the European approach gathers together national funding efforts and provides the opportunity to unite the geothermal knowledge of all participating countries.

GEOTHERMICA’s second call was launched at the end of 2019 with an indicative budget of around EUR 20 million.

The Horizon 2020 programme contributes directly to GEOTHERMICA with nearly EUR 8 million, with the rest of its budget coming from the EU Member States. The project is due to end in December 2021.

Geothermal energy is a vastly under-utilized indigenous, clean, low footprint and continuously available energy resource, and thus uniquely positioned to substantially contribute to a safe and secure energy supply of Europe’s Energy Union. Hitherto only utilized in choice markets and in only a few geographical regions, GEOTHERMICA’s objective is to combine the financial resources and know-how of 16 geothermal energy research and innovation programme owners and managers from 13 countries, to launch joint actions that demonstrate and validate novel concepts of geothermal energy utilization within the energy system and that identify paths to commerciality. Joint actions comprise joint calls and coordination activities, which will strengthen Europe’s geothermal energy sector by building a tightly interconnected and well-coordinated network of European funding agents.

Joint calls will have a strong industry participation with a targeted 50% contribution towards work programs and budgets of successful proposals.

In addition to joint programming and joint calls, a number of additional activities will be undertaken to develop shared and deep knowledge, to promote operational excellence, to exchange good practices in the realm of support policies, and to define strategic recommendations related to long-lasting and durable joint pursuits of research and innovation. Ultimately, a strong public sector will complement the research and innovation community as well as Europe’s geothermal industry sector to build an overall strong European geothermal energy sector ready to contribute to the European Energy Union, the implementation of the SET Plan as specified by the SET Plan Roadmap.

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