The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) aims to transform the way we produce and use energy in the EU with the goal of achieving EU leadership in the development of technological solutions capable of delivering 2020 and 2050 energy and climate targets.
The EU supports geothermal energy through its Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and other mechanisms, and by creating the legislative and policy framework for geothermal energy to flourish. The following is a chronological overview of some of the actions taken to promote geothermal energy in the EU, in addition to a more general look at recent actions in support of the SET-Plan.
- The European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC) was founded in 1998 as an international non-profit association in Brussels. It represents the geothermal sector in Europe. The Council currently has more than 120 members from 28 European countries: private companies, national associations, consultants, research centres, geological surveys and other public authorities. EGEC is a member of the International Geothermal Association (IGA).
- The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) was set up in 2000. Its members comprise heat pump and component manufacturers, research institutes, universities, testing labs and energy agencies. Its key goal is to promote awareness and proper deployment of heat pump technology in the European market place for residential, commercial and industrial applications.
- On 1 July 2004, the European Economic and Social Committee decided to draw up an opinion on the use of geothermal energy (2005/C 221/05). This opinion supplements earlier Committee opinions on energy and research policy. It describes the development and use of geothermal energy as an energy source which, given the extent of reserves, meets the criterion of sustainability and does not contribute to global warming through CO2 emissions. The opinion includes a brief overview and evaluation of development and use of geothermal energy at the time, its potential, and the problems connected with launching it commercially.
- The European Technology Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC-Platform) was created in 2008 at the initiative of the European Commission to bring together over 600 industry and research stakeholders representing all renewable energy technologies for heating and cooling. The Platform’s mission is to provide a framework for stakeholders to define and implement a strategy to increase the use of renewable energy sources for heating and cooling, and to foster the growth and competitiveness of the relevant industries.
- In its 2009 Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RES Directive, 2009/28/EC), the European Commission called on Member States to take steps to develop district heating infrastructure to accommodate the development of heating and cooling production from large biomass, solar and geothermal facilities.
- The EERA Geothermal Joint Programme was launched in June 2010 to conduct the research needed to support enhancing geothermal energy production from already identified and utilized resources and to explore large scale new untapped deep-seated hydrothermal systems. Other research goals include making Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS) ready for large-scale deployment and accessing “high potential” resources such as supercritical fluids and magmatic systems.
- In April 2012, the RHC-Platform published its Strategic Research Priorities for Geothermal Technology. This was followed, in April 2013, by a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), which identifies the research and innovation activities and investments needed to make RHC technologies cost-competitive in all market segments (residential, non-residential, and industrial) in the short (2020) and medium term (2030). The Platform published a Geothermal Technology Roadmap in March 2014.
- The Geothermal ERA-NET was started on 1 May 2012 for a period of four years, to support geothermal research in Europe. The ERA-Net aims to increase cooperation between energy agencies and ministries in Europe, with a view to opening up national research programmes and infrastructures and developing joint activities. The Geothermal ERA-NET is different from other conventional research projects in the sense that the grant is provided to promote cooperation and the coordination research plans in the countries involved, rather than for direct research. The Geothermal ERA-NET is the first step towards coordinated geothermal research in the EU.
- The first European Geothermal Innovation Award was handed out in 2014. Designed as an opportunity for industry peers to acknowledge excellence, and for the most exciting ideas to be widely publicised, the European Geothermal Innovation Award is a seal of excellence applied to the most intelligent and important ideas in research and industry which will play a key role in the future development of geothermal energy.
- In February 2015, the Joint Research Centre published its 2014 Geothermal Energy Status Report. This is the first edition of an annual report with which the JRC’s Institute for Energy and Transport wants to contribute to the general knowledge about the geothermal energy sector, its technology and economics. The report aims to present the overall state of the geothermal industry in Europe. It investigates the technological situation of geothermal technologies, in addition to policies related to geothermal energy and the status of the geothermal market status, both in Europe and globally.
General SET-Plan related news and activities from JRC/SETIS
- The Joint Research Centre published its Energy Technology Reference Indicator projections for 2010-2050 in December 2014. The ETRI 2014 report provides independent and up-to-date cost and performance characteristics of the present and future European energy technology portfolio. It covers the time period 2010-2050. This version focuses on electricity generation technologies, but it also includes electrical transmission grids, electricity storage systems, geothermal power production and heat pumps.
- The Joint Research Centre published A review of factors affecting environmental and economic life-cycle performance for electrically-driven heat-pumps in December 2014. This report presents a review of life-cycle cost studies involving heat pump systems. It presents an overview of the main factors characterising life-cycle cost methodologies for heat pump systems and identifies which factors have the greatest impact on the results. It also suggests methodological improvements to be employed in order to make life-cycle cost analyses more robust.
- On 27 January 2015, the Joint Research Centre hosted a roundtable discussion in Brussels on Scientific Support to Europe's Photovoltaic Manufacturing Industry. The roundtable brought together experts from the photovoltaic manufacturing industry, representatives from European institutions and Member States and stakeholders from industry, as well as financing bodies. The discussion explored the possible role of the European Commission in supporting the recovery of the European photovoltaic industry and retaining Europe's prominent place in research. At the same time, participants discussed possibilities of financing photovoltaic industry projects, including through Smart Specialisation Strategies.
- The MatISSE Support to the development of joint research actions between national programmes on advanced nuclear materials vision report from the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) Joint Programme on Nuclear Materials (JPNM) was published in January 2015 through the JRC. This report presents the vision of the JPNM with respect to the need for nuclear energy as part of a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy; the key role of materials for the development of future sustainable reactor systems; the grand challenges for nuclear materials that need to be addressed; and the establishment of an integrated European nuclear materials research programme.
- The 2014 Ocean Energy Status Report recently published by the JRC addresses the need of monitoring the evolution of the ocean energy technology, industry and market in Europe, with an eye at its global development. It aims to portray the state-of-play of the sector, key achievements, and mechanisms that have been put in place to overcome documented gaps and barriers in the sector towards commercialisation.
In the context of the process towards the Integrated Roadmap and Action Plan, organisations (universities, research institutes, companies, public institutions and associations) involved in research and innovation activities in the energy field are invited to register in the European energy R&I landscape database, which aims at facilitating partnerships and collaboration across Europe. Registration is open to stakeholders from the EU and H2020 associated countries. Organisations will be able to indicate their area of activity according to the energy system challenges and themes, as identified in the SET-Plan process towards an Integrated Roadmap and Action Plan. The database will be publicly available on the SETIS website.
- The next SET-Plan Steering Group meeting has been scheduled on 6 May 2015 in Brussels.