Portugal - Direct Uses




district heating



Greenhouse heating



bathing and swimming



 geothermal heat pumps (estimated)





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: Direct-use applications on the Mainland and Azores are restricted to small district heating operations, greenhouse heating and many balneological applications located near existing hot springs. Two main district heating systems are found on the mainland, at Chaves in northern Portugal and at S. Pedro do Sul in central Portugal. The former consists of swimming pools, two hotels and the Thermal Bath. They use a well of 100 m depth and temperature of 70oC. The latter site is the main Portuguese spa along with the heating to two hotels and room in the spa using 69oC water. Only a single greenhouse facility is still in operation at S. Pedro do Sul (Vau) in the central mainland. This operation produces tropical fruits (mainly pineapples). The greenhouse operation at S. Miguel, Azores operated by the INOVA Institute is no longer in operation. About 24 baths/spas are in operations, which are quite popular for health, well-being and touristic purposes. New investigations are being carried out for future development of spas in the Azores. A small number of ground-source heat pumps have been installed, of which 13 are registered. Larger uses include at the Superior School of Technology of Setubal, the GROUNDMED installations for offices and laboratories in Coimbra city, and a third system is installed in Sines Tecnopolo - Business Innovation Center at Sines City.

Taken from: John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd
Published in Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2015 Worldwide Review

Total thermal installed capacity in MWt:28.1
Direct use in TJ/year386.4
Direct use in GWh/year107.3
Capacity factor0.44

High temperature geothermal resources in Portugal are limited to the volcanic islands of the Azores, where electric power has been produced since 1980. 

Low-temperature geothermal resources are exploited for direct uses in balneotherapy, small space heating systems and geothermal heat pumps. In 2008, private investors obtained concession rights for exploration of geothermal resources for a total area of 2,655 km2, aiming for future development of small scale EGS generation projects. District heating projects are operating at Chaves in northern Portugal and S. Pedro do Sul, in central Portugal. There is a single greenhouse project in S. Pedro do Sul covering 2 ha, for raising tropic fruit (mainly pineapple). About 30 spas are operating in the country, but most are only open in the summer. Several dozen small geothermal heat pump installations are operating throughout the country, but unfortunately, this application is not recognized as a geothermal resource by the Portuguese administration.

The data on the various geothermal utilizations are:

1.5 MWt and 12.9 TJ/yr for district heating;
1.0 MWt and 13.8 TJ/yr for greenhouse heating;
25.3 MWt and 358.6 TJ/yr for bathing and swimming.
No estimates were made for geothermal heat pumps, thus we estimate 24 installations at 12 kW, a COP of 3.5 and 1,500 full load operating hours per year, gives 0.3 MWt and 1.1 TJ/yr.

This gives a total for the country of 28.1 MWt and 386.4 TJ/yr

Taken from the paper by John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd: "Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review"; published in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010