This study focuses on a comprehensive analysis of a panorama of LCA studies performed on geothermal projects, mainly from Europe. In addition, an analysis of the Geothermal Sustainability Assessment Protocol (GSAP) is challenged against the results from the survey on environmental impact issues undertaken in GEOENVI. The aim is to identify if any environmental topics specifically related to the environmental assessment of geothermal projects are missing in the GSAP or could be better adjusted into the protocol. The report also highlights the great variability between LCA and the GSAP, where both tools can be used to assess environmental aspects in different ways.
The results of the LCA panorama analysis highlighted the variability of the LCA studies based on e.g. goal and scope, technology and methodology, as well as identifying the environmental impacts that are assessed in the LCA method. Additional impacts have been identified related to local environmental issues to fit the application to the geothermal sector, based on the results from GEOENVI. This outcome will assist with the work on making harmonized LCA guidelines for the method to be more suitable for use in a geothermal environment, on a local, regional and global scale, and some of the challenges to that work have been pointed out.
This study is still a draft and has to be reviewed by the European Commission.