Italy - Direct Uses




individual space heating



District heating



Greenhouse heating



fish farming



Industrial process heat



bathing and swimming



 geothermal heat pumps





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: Utilization of geothermal resources in Italy for direct application dates back to prehistoric times and developed intensively during the Roman Antiquity (3rd B.C. to 5th A.D.). It declined notable from the 6th through the 12th centuries A.D., but started to grow again from the 13th century onward, reaching a peak in the early 20th century with the production of boron compounds at

Lardarello. In this period of over 3,000 years, the most intensive development of geothermal direct-use was for thermal balneology during the Roman period and from 1850 to 1920 for the exploitation of hydrothermal materials. From 1950 through 2000, almost 325 MWt of direct uses were installed in Italy with spa use and thermal balneology as the major applications. After 2000, other direct uses, especially ground-source heat pumps, stared to grow. Today, not considering geothermal heat pumps, space heating is the main direct-use application counting for about 41% of the energy use. This is followed by bathing and swimming at 32% and aquaculture at 19%. Heat pumps will continue to be the main growth for direct-use.

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:867
Direct use in TJ/year9,941.0
Direct use in GWh/year2,761.6
Capacity factor0.36

Geothermal direct-use has increased by a factor of 1.2 in the past five years to 867 MWt and 9,941 TJ/yr. This larger contribution, in terms of installed power, is mainly due to the wide development, mainly in the northern areas of Italy, of geothermal district heating and in the number of single household installation.

Both heating and cooling have been developed using geothermal energy, mainly by a large increase in geothermal heat pumps, both open and closed systems. Much of the growth has been due to interest from the designer’s community, as well as the decrease in the cost of systems.

For centuries Italian people have largely used thermal waters for bathing, medical cures and relaxation, and the industry is still an important part of geothermal use, accounting for 32% of the annual energy use.
A number of district heating systems using geothermal energy are operating in the country, with Ferrara being the most important. A number of geothermal district heating systems are also operating in the Tuscany region.
Greenhouse heating and fish farming are also important parts of direct use applications, amounting to 13% and 16 % respectively of the annual energy use. The largest greenhouse operation uses "waste" water from the Mt. Amiata power plant in Tuscany.
Large geothermal heat pump installations (2-5 MWt) have played an important role in Italy. Installations of geothermal heat pumps has increased 15% in the past year with an about 12,000 units installed.

The installed capacity and annual energy use for the various applications are:
92 MWt and 1,769 TJ/yr for individual space heating;
118 MWt and 963 TJ/yr for district heating;
111 MWt and 1,329 TJ/yr for greenhouse heating;
100 MWt and 1,632 TJ/yr for fish farming;
28 MWt and 130 TJ/yr for industrial applications;
187 MWt and 3,157 TJ/yr for swimming and bathing;
231 MTW; and 961 TJ/yr for geothermal heat pumps.

The total is 867 MWt and 9,941 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