GeoPLAT – Spanish Geothermal Technology & Innovation Platform celebrates 10th anniversary

Screenshot of GEOPLAT website
Alexander Richter 18 Jul 2019

GeoPlat, the Technological and Spanish Innovation Platform for Geothermal Energy recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

GeoPlat, the Technological and Spanish Innovation Platform for Geothermal Energy, an entity that brings together more than 170 public and private stakeholders in this sector, celebrated its Tenth Anniversary Assembly at the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) in late June 2019. The ceremony was opened by the Director General of the Institute, Joan Herrera, who pointed out, among other things, that “geothermal energy can respond to thermal needs that are not solved in an electrification scenario”.

“Geothermal energy (heat from the earth) is a reliable renewable energy, highly efficient, manageable, and with the ability to provide the system with a green base load, all of them key assets for the ecological transition of Spain”. This is how the discourse of GeoPlat, the technological platform of the sector, sounded at its 10th Anniversary Assembly, an event that took place at IDAE and that was chaired by Herrera; the president of the Platform, Íñigo Arrizabalaga; and also the president of the European Geothermal Panel of ETIP-RHC, Javier Urchueguía. The Assembly has begun with the inaugural conference of Herrera, “who has especially valued -reforms GeoPlat- the capacity of geothermal to decarbonise the thermal energy demands (in buildings and industries) and to reduce the disproportionate national energy dependence, of more than 70%, which translates into approximately 160 million euros per day that are transferred to countries that export fossil fuels to Spain, such as oil and natural gas. ”

In addition, Herrera has highlighted the important role that geothermal energy can play in urban centers, being able to hybridize with photovoltaic systems of shared self-consumption in local communities, which, as a consequence, would be able to generate their own electric and thermal energy. The general director of IDAE has identified the Canary Islands as the ideal region to install the first generation plant based on geothermal energy in Spain, not only because of the important geothermal potential of the islands, but also because of the fact that this source of energy “It would be the perfect complement to the massive penetration of photovoltaic and wind that is expected to occur in the next few years in the archipelago, because it is a renewable energy one hundred percent manageable and capable of providing green base load to the system.”

Next, the general director of Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities,  Teresa Riesgo , participated, “with an intervention -information GeoPlat- loaded with strategic ideas and innovative approaches aimed at business and scientific-technological agents that make up the Spanish geothermal sector, so that they continue betting on R & D & I and continue advancing in the competitiveness of geothermal technologies and in the transfer to society of the energy solutions provided by them “.

The coordinator of GeoPlat,  Margarita de Gregorio , has reviewed the actions carried out over these ten years by the Platform and has reported on the activities that are currently underway. Thus, he recalled that GeoPlat has produced five publications of its own during that period and that now he is not only working with public administrations and collaborating with other national and European platforms, or with the Geothermal Implementing Agreement of the Ingenational Energy Agency ( IEA-Geothermal), but also, is promoting the internationalization of the Spanish geothermal sector, the training of professional guilds and the quality of geothermal facilities through courses and through, as well, the development of UNE standards and professional qualifications.

De Gregorio has also underlined the importance of the decade 2020-2030 to achieve a solid implementation of geothermal energy in Spain. The coordinator of GeoPlat considers that the sector is “on the threshold of a very promising period, a window of opportunity to enhance the capabilities of geothermal energy and contribute to the objectives of future regulations that are about to be approved, such as the Law of Climate Change and Energy Transition, the  National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan , and the Long-Term Fair Transition Strategies for a Modern, Competitive and Climate-Neutral Spanish Economy in 2050. ”

The President of the European Geothermal Panel of ETP-RHC,  Javier Urchueguía , who is also the Coordinator of GeoPlat Training, also spoke during the Assembly. Urchueguía has exposed the trends of the European geothermal sector, “which is characterized because it is consolidated and presents sustained growth and great potential.” This contrasts – the president of the European Geothermal Panel has pointed out – with what has been achieved in Spain, “which is a lot,” Urchueguía said, “but clearly insufficient for the challenge posed by the energy transition and the threat of climate change.”

The president of the Platform

The platform’s president, Íñigo Arrizabalaga, has also participated in the event , which is also coordinator of Some Geothermal in GeoPlat. Arrizabalaga has highlighted two ideas: (1) the importance of thermal renewable energies to achieve a true energy transition; and (2) the magnificent opportunities represented by hybridization with other renewable technologies and integration. The president of the Platform has also reflected on other keys to present and future geothermal energy. Thus, he spoke about the new district air conditioning networks that are to come (at lower temperatures in heating and higher in refrigeration); on the need to design geothermal installations that meet the demands of the environment; and on the importance of considering geothermal as BAT (best available technique). According to Arrizabalaga, finally,

News for the Assembly

Finally, Celestino García de la Noceda, GeoPlat Resource and Deep Geothermal Research Coordinator, has informed the Assembly of the recommendations of the International Energy Agency to develop the geothermal sector in Spain. Albert Pujadas, coordinator of the Geothermal Working Group of the Cluster of l’Energia Eficient de Catalunya, recently created, has confirmed the interest of his Group to sign a collaboration agreement with GeoPlat to coordinate actions. And Daniel Ruiz Iruela and Carlos Toledo, from the Research Agency and the Center for Technological and Industrial Development respectively, have reported on opportunities and existing instruments to finance geothermal energy projects.

The Technological and Spanish Innovation Platform for Geothermal Energy is defined as “a group of excellence and technical-scientific sector coordination, composed of all the relevant actors in the geothermal sector in Spain, whose activities are partially subsidized by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness ”

Source: Energias Renovables