EGEC, the European Geothermal Energy Council, is a non-profit international organisation founded in ...
The GEOENVI project aims at answering environmental concerns in terms of both impacts and risks, by first setting an adapted methodology for assessing environment impacts to the project developers, and by assessing the environmental impacts and risks of geothermal projects operational or in development in Europe. The project proposed recommendations on harmonised European environmental regulations to the decision-makers and elaborate simplified LCA models to assess environmental impacts.
Deep geothermal has a great potential for development in many European countries. However, the advantages of using geothermal energy for power production and heating & cooling are not widely known. Recently, deep geothermal energy production in some regions is confronted with a negative perception, particularly in terms of environmental performance, which could seriously hamper its market uptake. Thus, environmental impact assessment is a prerequisite to the deployment of the deep geothermal resources.
The concept of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) allows analysis and comparison of the environmental impacts of different energy production technologies over their life cycle stages – from extraction of raw materials to production, transport, use and end-of-life.
The project, coordinated by EGEC, started on 1 November 2018 and ended on 30 April 2021.
The GEOENVI project focuses on six key countries with varying deep geothermal potential, markets maturity, and geological settings: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Turkey and Hungary. These countries have been selected because they have a potential for deep geothermal and there are plants already operating or under development.
They also present different and complementary geological settings, as well as profiles of environmental concerns. By collecting information in these countries, knowledge gained in experienced markets can be made accessible and transferred to stakeholders in less developed markets all over Europe.
Case studies have been selected to be treated in the project: they are located in Iceland (Theistareykir geothermal power plant), France (Soultz-sous-Forêts and Rittershoffen geothermal power and heat plants), Italy (Bagnore 3&4 geothermal power plants located in Amiata), Turkey (Kizildere geothermal plant), Belgium (Balmatt geothermal plant) and Hungary (Szeged district heating system).
This mix of case studies allows to combine projects at different phases of development, with difference about the most important environmental impacts and concerns, difference in the stakeholders involved, and with different geothermal technologies and geology.
The project developed a suite of site-specific case studies in which environmental impacts and risks have been assessed through a life cycle assessment.