national frameworks, will give investors back their confdence and allow the
wind and renewable sectors to continue to grow, providing employment, energy
security and clean electricity for hundreds upon thousands of Europeans.
And that is relevant to us all.
Sarah Azau joined the European Wind Energy Association’s communications team in
October 2007 and became head of communications in February 2012. Previous to this,
she worked in communications for an environmental association and at the European
Commission. Sarah has lived in Brussels since 2005.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY is not thoroughly considered a key
source of energy. There is a considerable lack of awareness about its advantages and potential, and the appropriate support measures are not established. This is currently
the biggest challenge in order to be considered in the energy scenario 2020-2030 and 2050.
In analysing the impact of geothermal energy deploy-
ment it should be pointed out that:
Geothermal provides renewable baseload and fexible
electricity and continuous heat/cold production everywhere;
Initial upfront costs are followed by very low operational
costs and high production revenues as, for instance in elec-
tricity, geothermal presents the highest capacity factor of
all technologies (about 90 percent).
Geothermal does not add any system cost (back up requirement and trans-
mission and distribution infrastructure) from a system-approach perspective;
it can therefore alleviate the need for additional infrastructure and increase
the security of energy supply at regional level;
It is friendly to the environment and contributes to the reduction of GHG
Today, however, market conditions in the electricity and heat sectors prevent
geothermal from fully competing with conventional technologies developed historically under protected, monopolistic market structures where costs reduction
and risks were borne by consumers rather than by plant suppliers and operators. The energy market is still far from being perfect and transparent.
Firstly, in many countries electricity and gas prices are regulated, thus they
do not refect the full costs of the electricity and heat generation. Secondly, fossil fuel and nuclear sectors still receive many subsidies. Thirdly, there is lack
of market transparency, including lack of information provided to customers
and tax payers and a clear billing.
More support measures for geothermal technologies are therefore
needed to favor the progress towards cost-competitiveness of a key source
✺✺The Big Question