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2014 JRC Geothermal Energy Status Report

Geothermal energy resources have been used by mankind in some form for thousands of years. Depending on the temperature of the resource, it may be used for power production, supply of heat or a combination of both. This report presents the current status of the major technologies to utilize the full temperature range of geothermal resources ranging from shallow and borehole ground source heat pump systems, direct use facilities to power plants deriving their fluids from volcanic systems. Power production from hydrothermal resources where natural permeability coincides with hot bedrocks is a mature technology. Power and heat production from engineered geothermal systems where permeability has to be artificially created is less mature and needs further development and support for large scale implementation. Currently, geothermal provides 0.2 % of EU final electricity demand. Although the EU theoretical power production potential with the EGS technology is very high, public support for geothermal is limited compared to other renewable technologies. In order to expand the potential for geothermal power production, focus should be made on facilitating the deployment of the EGS technology. The understanding of successful long term EGS reservoir management has to be elevated and cheaper and more reliable drilling technologies should be developed.