CROWDTHERMAL introduces services for community-funded geothermal projects

CROWDTHERMAL introduces services for community-funded geothermal projects CROWDTHERMAL First International Conference, 7 April 2022 (source: YouTube screenshot, CROWDTHERMAL project)
Carlo Cariaga 18 Apr 2022

During their first international conference, the CROWDTHERMAL project gave a preview of the services they will offer to encourage community-funded geothermal projects.

During its First International Conference, the EU-funded CROWDTHERMAL project introduced its research outcomes and services. The latter aim at empowering society to participate in geothermal projects through alternative financing
schemes and highlight thus the decisive role geothermal can play in the energy transition.

CROWDTHERMAL broadcasted its First International Conference on 7 April 2022 live from Madrid to more than 140 online participants. The aim of the event was to officially introduce the services the Horizon 2020 funded project is developing for community-financed geothermal projects. The mission of CROWDTHERMAL is to empower society to directly participate in the development of geothermal projects, with the help of alternative financing schemes and social engagement tools. Recordings of the event can be viewed at the CROWDTHERMAL website.

The project team is currently finalising a set of services with regard to the alternative financing of geothermal projects. These services encompass environmental studies, economic aspects, financial risk mitigation and social acceptance considerations. The core services will assist the geothermal sector, contributing thus to an accelerated market development in Europe and supporting the European Union’s 2030 climate and energy targets as well as the new REpowerEU plan which aims at a greater strategic independence of Europe’s energy supply.

The conference was hosted by the Centre for Studies and Experimentation of Public Works (CEDEX) which is affiliated to the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO). CROWDTHERMAL partners GEOPLAT (Spanish Geothermal Platform) and the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) co-organised the event.

Both the Director of CEDEX, Áurea Perucho, who opened the conference, and the Director of the Geotechnical Laboratory, Fernando Pardo, who provided an overview of the application of geothermal energy in civil engineering, expressed CEDEX’s support to CROWDTHERMAL. In her keynote speech on ‘Geothermal in the energy transition and the role of the society’, Francisca Rivero, the Secretary General of IDAE, the Spanish Government’s Institute for the Diversification and
Saving of Energy, emphasised that “CROWDTHERMAL’s objectives are fully aligned with the EU Green Deal.” She highlighted the importance of actively involving citizens in the Spanish Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan which foresees the development of energy communities placing citizens “at the heart of the energy transition.”

In this context, alternative financing methods such as crowdfunding can contribute to transforming citizens “from passive consumers to actors and producers” of energy, improving thus the social acceptance of renewable energy projects and democratising the energy system.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857830. Speakers from public and private entities then provided an overview of the role of
geothermal energy in decarbonising cities, the financing of geothermal projects including alternative financing
schemes and social engagement in geothermal projects.

On this occasion, the CROWDTHERMAL team introduced its main research outputs, including, among others, its guidelines for public engagement, its proposed risk mitigation framework, innovative finance mechanisms for geothermal energy, the guidelines for developers and promoters of geothermal energy and the Social License to Operate for the geothermal sector.

The last session of the conference offered a glimpse of the services CROWDTHERMAL is developing for communities of citizens, geothermal project developers and local authorities. A beta version of those services is due to be launched publicly by the second half of June 2022. The objective is to turn CROWDTHERMAL into a one-stop-shop for enquiries about empowerment in geothermal projects through community funding