Euractiv recently published an article on the promise of new geothermal technologies. They suggest that geothermal energy’s ability to provide baseload electricity and flexibility to heating and power systems will be invaluable in moving towards a 100% renewables-based system.
Geothermal energy, or ‘the sun beneath our feet’ as it’s dubbed, has only 16 gigawatts (GW) of capacity installed globally. But thanks to new drilling techniques, there is a renewed momentum in the industry. The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that at least 52 GW of geothermal capacity will be needed by 2030 to be compatible with a climate neutrality scenario.
Daniel Moelk from Eavor Technologies Inc. says, “We can work as a renewable battery without actually having to construct a battery or build an energy storage facility.” Eavor is a Calgary-based geothermal start-up, which operates an advanced closed-loop system called Eavor Loop™.
“Brussels-based NGOs CAN Europe and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) published a report last year outlining a 100% renewables-based energy scenario for the EU aligned with the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement. The report assumed that the share of geothermal energy in the bloc’s total final energy demand could reach up to 10% by 2040, providing a substantial contribution to a fully renewable energy system.” – Anna Gumbau, Euractiv
Geothermal combined with various sources such as wind and solar could provide a much-needed power baseload as part of a 100% renewable energy mix. It could also support the development of hydrogen, as geothermal could be paired with solar to make the production of renewable hydrogen more cost-effective.
The geothermal industry associations suggest that the EU isn’t doing enough to promote renewable alternatives over fossil fuels in heating. Although geothermal plants involve high upfront investment costs for drilling and geological studies, the energy they provide is cheap and energy-efficient.