30,000+ jobs could be created with further geothermal growth in Italy

Bagnore 3 plant, Tuscany, Italy (source: Enel Green Power)
Alexander Richter 20 Sep 2017

Italy could more than double current geothermal production and more than 30,000 jobs could be created with further geothermal growth in Italy.

With new incentives Italy could double the electricity produced by exploiting geothermal energy, so an article in Italian publication L’Espresso. “This would also strengthen the possibility to export industrial technologies to the world”, so Franco Terlizzese, General Director of the Ministry of Economic Development and admits that there are environmental risk, “… but technology can reset them”.

“With geothermal energy we will create 30,000 new employees”

Mining engineer, 63, Terlizzese is the technician who is trying to convince the Italian government to focus strongly on geothermal energy, “Because,” he says, “it can be a great source of energy for Italy, but also a great opportunity for our exports.” This is why the meeting by the Global Geothermal Alliance in Florence earlier this month, was presented as the largest ministerial conference devoted to the development of geothermal energy. At the event representatives from more than 25 governments were in attendance.

So why is Italy claiming a leadership role in this initiative?

Engineer Terlizzese: “We have been the first nation in the world to produce electricity this way, in Larderello, Tuscany, more than a century ago, and we are still today the first European nation for installed geothermal capacity, with companies throughout the industry, from Enel to the New Pignon to the companies of the Piacenza district specialized in drilling. ”

How much energy is produced with geothermal energy today in Italy?

“The currently installed power is about 900 megawatts, and production reaches almost 6 TWh per year, making it the sixth global geothermal energy producer. But the potential to be exploited is much greater. ”

How much energy could it produce in the short term by exploiting the heat of the earth?

“If we look at electricity alone, more or less double than the current one. In the National Energy Strategy of 2013, formally not yet overcome (the new Senate is in the process of being consulted), we were expected to arrive at 12 TWh per year of electricity produced through geothermal energy. This objective can still be considered valid. ”

To boost production, will the government increase incentives for those who produce geothermal energy?

“I really hope so. If we look at the new National Energy Strategy we see that geothermal energy has space, so the benefits should increase. Then of course we have to see if the theory translates into practice, that is, if there is a political will to promote geothermal energy compared to other renewables. ”

The Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Teresa Bellanova, said that “employment is more gear than geothermal energy”. She explains why?

“Because it creates more jobs than many other renewable sources, and some of the geothermal ones are stable jobs. I’ll explain. From a study conducted by the GSE (Energy Services Manager), it emerges that, for every MW installed, the photovoltaic creates 12 occupied, wind 19 and geothermal 34. They are temporary jobs because they are related to the installation of the plant but the installation cycle of a geothermal plant is much longer than the one required for a photovoltaic plant. The difference is a few years against a few months. Additionally, in geothermal jobs that become stable are proportionally more than the photovoltaic or the wind. ”

How many places do you expect to create if Italy can actually doubled the production of electricity from a geothermal source?

“About 30,000, of course, over the years, those needed to get doubled production.” And how many of these will become stable jobs? “Considering that today, with 900 MW installed, stable employees are around 2,000, doubling installed capacity, we should add another 2,000 stable jobs.”

What are the most promising areas for geothermal development?

“Surely the center of Italy, especially Alto Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany. But there are other regions affected by geothermal research, such as Lombardy and Sicily. ”

However, many citizens are afraid of geothermal plants. They fear that perforations can damage the aquifers, increase the risk of earthquakes, and that fluid released with extractions – such as sulfur hydrogen, mercury or sulfur dioxide – can have a negative impact on the air we breathe.

“They are all understandable concerns, I have heard them myself going to visit local communities. What many do not know, however, is that there is a technological response to each of these potential problems. There are, for example, closed-loop systems, which do not involve the withdrawal and re-injection of geothermal fluids, and consequently have no impact on the aquifers or on seismicity. We are working to process this information and transfer it to the population. ”

Source: L’Espresso