Geothermal energy, a national opportunity

The geothermal energy development outlook is favourable as regards Italy and Europe. The latter was confirmed by the 2011 Report on the European geothermal market, presented at the EGEC (European Geothermal Energy Council) Conference that was recently held in Milan.

At present, Europe has a geothermal capacity of about 1,600 MW, with a significant short- and mid-term growth forecast. Nevertheless, the Report highlights that more political and financial support is needed in order to keep up the current boost.

“Geothermal energy receives comparably less support than other renewable energy sources, and In spite of this, there are continued positive trends emerging, in terms of number of new geothermal power plants, and geothermal District Heating systems. This means that by 2015, there will be significantly more installed capacity for geothermal electricity and heating”, said EGEC president EGEC, Burkhard Sanner.

In this scenario Italy still has a leading position, with an installed capacity that is almost half of the whole of Europe’s and development perspectives that, according to EGEC, will allow it to put into service about 923 MW by 2015.

Italy’s headship originates especially from Enel’s commitment and expertise, with an uncontested leadership at a global level. It engages its employees and resources to further increase its command, focusing not only on developing traditional high-temperature plants, but also new technologies that use low- and medium- enthalpy fluids, also integrating geothermal technologies with other renewable sources, like solar and biomass.

It must be noted that presently Italian public opinion is also willing to accept it. For example, a survey conducted by IPR Marketing in November showed that 72% of Italians are favourable to increasingly harnessing geothermal resources, also in plants that operate in their cities (68% are favourable and only 13% are against).