Page 36 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2014
P. 36
Summer 2014 European Energy Innovation



By Vittorio Prodi

In an environment of high
and unstable energy prices,
geothermal source offers cost-
effective, renewable and clean
energy, displacing oil, gas and
electricity. It is flexible because of
its inherent storage capacity, and
can provide base load electricity
thus complementing other variable
renewables. Another important
characteristic of geothermal
energy is a high load factor:
each MW of capacity produces
significantly more electricity during
a year than a MW of wind or solar
capacity. Last but not least, the
integrated generation of heating
and power has been shown to
have a significant positive effect on
job creation.

Geothermal energy represents
a sustainable solution to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and
dependence from fossil fuel. 24
countries in the world produce
geothermal electricity, while 70
exploit geothermal sources for
heating. In Europe, the market
is mainly concentrated in Italy,
Turkey and Iceland.

Since the construction of the first
commercial dry steam power
plant in 1911 in Italy, a wide range
of energy conversion techniques
allow geothermal resources to be
used in many ways: heat pumps
and district heating to heat
and cool buildings; flash steam
power plants; binary source
power plants (the most common
type of geothermal plant being
developed today); and more
recently, Enhanced Geothermal
Systems (EGS, also known as
Hot Dry Rock), that enable the
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