Joint statement released calling for increased support for geothermal development in Italy.

Joint statement released calling for increased support for geothermal development in Italy. Naples, Sicily in Italy with the Vesuvio volcano in the background (source: flickr/ Pablo Cabezos, creative commons)
Carlo Cariaga 28 Jan 2022

Geothermal energy has the potential to contribute to Italy's geothermal transition goals but legislative support is needed, so this press release by the Italian Geothermal Union and Italian Association of Urban Heating

The Italian Geothermal Union (UGI) and the Italian Association of Urban Heating (AIRU), with the support of the European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC), have released a joint  press release (titled “The extraordinary potential of geothermal energy for energy transition”) indicating the challenges of geothermal development in Italy and calling for legislative action to support the sector. They are also proposing the formation of a Technical Table to evaluate the contribution of geothermal to achieving the country’s energy transition goals.

Italy offers excellent opportunities to use geothermal for power generation. National and international operators have already shown interest in developing geothermal prospects, especially in the regions close to the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are also areas where geothermal can provide district heating of building complexes, cities, and industries.

The joint statement identifies three major challenges to geothermal development in Italy:

  • High initial costs for exploration, drilling, and evaluation of potential
  • Complex procedures and excessively long times (about 4 to 8 years) to obtain permits and concessions
  • Poor investment in research and innovation and lack of support measures for the sector and its potential for job creation

There are currently a dozen projects that are either awaiting authorization or are going through the authorization process. These projects have the potential to generate electricity at a capacity of 700 GWh/year, which is already one-tenth of the 2030 renewable energy target for Italy.

With these barriers in mind, the three organizations making the joint statement are asking for concrete legislative actions, among which include:

  • The creation of a single National Government Authority that will deal with governance and coordination of the sector; definition of guidelines and strategic development plan; project evaluation; and issuance of permits and concessions
  • Streamlining and standardization of procedures in line with the provisions of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR)
  • Support for high-level geothermal industrial chain that exports Italian technology globally
  • Provision of incentives that will help make the sector self-sufficient, similar to what exists in other countries
  • Investment and incentives for geothermal projects aimed at electricity production and for closed-circuit systems based on the characteristics of the resource
  • Investment in urban district heating projects and infrastructures
  • Funding for research centers
  • Financing of strategic projects aimed at the extraction of lithium and rare metals from geothermal fluids
  • Financing for studies on the geothermal potential of supercritical fluids
  • The inclusion of geothermal heat pump technologies in efforts to reach the energy efficiency targets of buildings

Source: Italian Geothermal Union via Linkedin