Strategies for Fostering the Use of Shallow Geothermal Energy for Heating and Cooling in Central Europe - Results from the Interreg Central Europe Project GeoPLASMA-CE

Authors: Gregor GOETZL, Gregor DILGER, Ruediger GRIMM, Karina HOFMANN, Jan HOLECEK, Radovan CERNAK, Mitja JANZA, Wieslaw KOZDROJ, Maciej KŁONOWSKI, Marek HAJTO, Paul GABRIEL, Spela GREGORIN
Keywords: shallow geothermal energy, strategies, central Europe
Conference: World Geothermal Congress Session: Policy, Legal and Regulatory Aspects
Year: 2020 Language: English
Abstract: GeoPLASMA-CE stands for Planning, Assessment and Management of Shallow Geothermal Energy in Central Europe. Shallow geothermal energy (SGE) use for heating, cooling and seasonal heat storage represents a key technology for enabling the transition to a low carbon society. However, this technology is still barely visible compared to other renewable energy sources. In Europe, the level of awareness by decision makers, the legal frameworks as well as the market maturities vary greatly. This also applies to the access to information on resources and limitations of shallow geothermal energy use. The Interreg Central Europe project GeoPLASMA-CE (2016 – 2019) pooled knowledge and access to information of geological survey organizations, universities, SMEs, non-profit organizations and public administrators from the central European countries Austria, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia to provide products for fostering the use of shallow geothermal energy. The achieved outputs cover harmonized workflows for mapping resources and conflicts of use, joint quality standards for an efficient management of SGE installations, harmonized strategies to promote SGE based heating and cooling supply as well as a joint web platform ( The outputs of GeoPLASMA-CE were tested and demonstrated in six pilot areas, partly covering trans-boundary regions, by involving local stakeholders like authorities and communities. Based on the experiences achieved in GeoPLASMA-CE, we developed joint strategies for the central European area to support an efficient and sustainable use of shallow geothermal energy. A key element of the developed strategies is represented by a proposed management cycle for managing shallow geothermal installations. The management cycle consists of the following interlinked key cornerstones: information system – planning and licensing – installation – operation and monitoring. This approach requires a change of paradigm from individual to integrative management approach supported by a digitized and user-friendly licensing procedures. That also includes a continuous feedback from the user to the authority by means of operational- as well as environmental monitoring. The findings of GeoPLASMA-CE in the six project regions were finally transferred to a joint position paper to promote the efficient and sustainable use of shallow geothermal in Europe for the period 2021 - 2030. We identified a target indicator level for heat supply based on ground source heat pumps in the range of 210 Twh by 2030 in the EU. This implies a strong increase of the current growth rate of around 6% per year to almost 18% per year. The additional investments to realize the enhanced share of shallow geothermal would in turn pay off by increasing the overall heating efficiency of 14% through electricity savings in the range of 14TWh/year.
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