Europe is seeing an increased interest in geothermal energy utilisation. While not getting the huge attention as the large geothermal countries of this world, such as Indonesia or Kenya, there is an incredible momentum for geothermal energy in Europe. In this context there are three countries that clearly should be of particular interest, namely Croatia, France, and Switzerland.
Why is that? Let me explain and start with France.
Little known, but France has been on the forefront of geothermal energy use for district heating. Large parts of the Greater Paris area are actually heated by geothermal, while separate heating systems, combined they would represent one of the largest, if not the largest, geothermal district heating systems. With companies like Dalkia and Engie/ Storengy, there are two players that are involved in geothermal energy development for heating in France, yet also for power generation abroad, such as Engie in Indonesia.
With ongoing development in the Alsace region (the wider Upper Rhine cross-boarder region of France, Germany, and Switzerland) the focus has been on heating projects, while there is also one geothermal power plant in Soultz-sous-Forets and projects that aim to build combined heat and power plants. At the same time there are hopes to be able to derive Lithium from geothermal brines. But there is also further geothermal development in other parts of France, such as in Bordeaux and the Massif Central. … and there is continued efforts in the overseas territories of France, such as Guadeloupe, where Ormat is planning the expansion of the 16 MW Bouillante geothermal power plant. The French government is also supporting additional development efforts in Mayotte/ Africa, and Martinique/ Caribbean.
Croatia is a new comer to the market and made a huge leap with its first geothermal power plant that started operation in 2018 with an installed capacity of 18 MW. The international interest in development in the country has been interesting to see, and looking at results on a recent tender for additional geothermal areas clearly shows a certain momentum.
And then you have Switzerland. While a lot of people remember Basel and the challenges the industry faced in the country after the project was stopped, there now is movement in the market and a political will on the federal level and beyond to see geothermal energy being developed. The focus seems to be mainly on heating purposes, yet there are also efforts under way for power development. Key development efforts are in Geneva for a planned district heating network, the planned power project in Haute-Sorne, and planned expansion at the geothermal heating network of Riehen near the border to Germany.
So there is a lot going on that could shape further development across Europe. With the increased international interest as well, the IGC Invest Geothermal event to take place on November 17, 2020 in a hybrid onsite/ virtual format in Frankfurt/ Germany and online will provide a great opportunity to learn more on these markets and the opportunities they provide.
Learn more about the event here: www.investgeothermal.com
Here below an overview on these markets from a webinar last week as introduction of the event. Learn more about the program here.