The geothermal community meets in Strasbourg for the European Geothermal Congress 2016 to celebrate European excellency, calls for clear structural signals and tailored tools for further expansion.

More than 800 participants are joining the European Geothermal Congress in Strasbourg this week. The event, organised every three years by the European Geothermal Energy Council, brings together stakeholders from the entire Geothermal community for sessions covering science, markets, and social issues, an exhibition, courses, and side events.

Geothermal in Europe is growing and the sector maintains its technological leadership. Today, 88 power plants with a total installed capacity of 2.28GWe are in operation, with an increasing number of innovative binary turbines. There are also 527 district heating plants with a total capacity of 4.7GWe; new designs and IT techniques will revolutionise the sector, creating modern, adaptable systems for future communities.

Around 1.7 million ground source heat pumps are providing sustainable heating, cooling and hot water to homes and businesses across Europe, making it the leader in this technology. This growth has been supported by both European and national measures for climate, energy and innovation, which have triggered interest and private investment in Geothermal.

Still, the potential for geothermal energy to provide renewable, clean, local, safe, and reliable energy is much larger, but barriers still exist.

Clear and strong signals are needed at a European level. In the legislative framework for the period after 2020, to be unveiled by the commission by the end of the year, investors must be reassured of stability in regulatory and planning systems over the next 15-20 years. New legislation should include requirements for a minimum share of renewables in new buildings, remove incentives for fossil fuel systems, and grant Member States the flexibility to develop their own instruments which will allow the next generation of technologies to develop.

Local, national, and international political and industrial leaders opened the event on Tuesday morning, describing how Europe is leading the world in innovation and scientific excellence. Strasbourg, France, provides an excellent stage for this event; famous since Roman times for its geothermal spas, it is now at the vanguard of geothermal development as the home of the first demonstrated EGS plant at Soultz-sous-Forêts, and the first EGS plant providing heat to industry.

Philippe Richert, President of Region Grand Est described how geothermal development is just beginning in the region, adding “I believe in the future of deep geothermal” whilst Robert Hermann, president of Strasbourg Eurométropole said geothermal is “an incredible opportunity for our region”. Marc Kugler, director general of ÉS elaborated on the groups plans for deep geothermal development and renewables.

Anne Sander MEP noted that “whilst the EU has seen some crises, it continues to progress towards reaching its goals for energy efficiency, less greenhouse gas emissions, and a greater share of renewables”. Paolo Bertuzzi, CEO of Turboden explained how “geothermal is key in ensuring the five energy union objectives are met”.

This week in Strasbourg, the industrial and scientific geothermal communities join together and demonstrate Europe’s ability to use geothermal to provide clean and secure energy. European and national authorities must seize this opportunity to allow the sector to flourish.

The new board of the European Geothermal Energy Council was also elected at the congress, with President Burkhard Sanner standing down. The new board is comprised of

  • President: Ruggero Bertani (ENEL Green Power)
  • Vice President: Miklos Antics (GPC IP)
  • Vice president: Javier Urchueguia (Energesis)
  • Treasurer: Attila Kujbus (Geothermal Express)
  • Board Member: Marco Baresi (Turboden)
  • Board Member: Robert Gavriliuc (Romanian Geoexchange Society)
  • Board Member: Thor-Erik Musaeus (Rock Energy)

The congress is organised by the European Geothermal Energy Council www.egec.org

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