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Mid-Term Conference - Potsdam, Germany
Mid-Term Conference - Potsdam, Germany
9-12 January 2007 GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
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Europe, from a pioneering role to the leading edge of R&D with a global perspective for the future of geothermal energy
Europe’s pioneering role for the development of geothermal
The development of the Earth’s thermal resources, especially
in Europe, relies on the sound scientific and technical
knowledge that has been acquired during the 20th Century.
This knowledge spans from the first production of
electricity in Italy, to the exploitation of shallow
aquifers in the Paris basin, through the booming sector of
geothermal heat pumps, to the Soultz-sous-Forêts Enhanced
Geothermal System (EGS) experiment in France. Conventional
geothermal energy is still benefiting from ongoing
technological improvements in heat conversion and
distribution and should, therefore, become increasingly
cost-effective due to the inevitable rise in energy prices
and growing environmental constraints. Thus, geothermal
energy must be considered in the global debate on greenhouse
effect and energy supply. It is in such a context that the
European Union’s contribution to R&D projects must be
assessed, with a budget of €20 million dedicated to
geothermal energy as part of the 6th FP for a total budget
of about €50 million over four years.
The contribution of geothermal energy to Europe’s strategy
for renewable energy, as defined in 1997 in the White Book,
was a doubling of electricity capacity from 500 to 1,000 MWE
and an increase in heat production capacity from 750 to
25,000 MWt. These targets have already been achieved for
electricity capacity, which has reached 1,179 MWE, whereas
in terms of heat production 13,626 MWt have been installed
for geothermal direct use capacity. 
The technology is now available for heating/cooling and
power generation for both medium-to-high enthalpy fields and
for low-to-very-low enthalpy fields (geothermal heat pumps),
and this is shared by many countries. The diversity of
developments worldwide, many of them referring to the
European experience, is also a very strong advantage, as it
provides numerous case histories that can be used for
attracting investors. 
Gaining/Maintaining the leading edge
There is a need for long-term collaborative research within
international projects in order to develop EGSs. The
community is aware that the development of geothermal energy
requires, in addition to short-term projects,
medium-to-long-term projects involving EGSs, including
extensive active geothermal systems and geothermal recovery
from existing oil and gas operations having a wide
application and a relatively low risk. EGS development
requires the mobilisation of the international community.
The Soultz experiment is considered as the international
reference by Australian investors and by American
scientists, for whom EGS is one of the few renewable
energies that can provide continuous base-load power.
Furthermore, the extension of existing geothermal fields in
Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador is considered a
priority issue by these countries. 
The co-ordination of such short- and long-term projects
requires a well organised scientific community at
international level. The development of geothermal energy
and the regaining of political support require the
enhancement of existing knowledge and know-how and the
definition of ambitious projects. This conviction, which is
shared by a broad scientific community, the ENGINE
co-ordination action, as well as other initiatives such as
the working groups of the European Commission, IEA-GIA, MIT,
the International Geothermal Association (IGA), and the
European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC), strives to
increase the audience and impact of geothermal energy. Thus,
one of ENGINE’s major objectives is now to contribute to the
construction of an international strategy for promoting
geothermal energy by consolidating the available information
systems and proposing spin-off projects that will receive
the support of stakeholders, decision makers and private
Id: 50
Place: GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
14473 Potsdam
Room: Building H, auditorium and seminar rooms
Starting date:
10-Jan-2007   16:00
Duration: 20'
Primary Authors: Dr. LEDRU, PATRICK (BRGM)
Presenters: Dr. LEDRU, PATRICK
Material: slides Slides

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