A GEOTHERMAL REVOLUTION - Improving visibility for geothermal energy

The problem with geothermal energy is that people don’t see it and don’t understand it, unlike wind turbines which are visible everywhere

Projects involved

  • OptiDrill

Geothermal energy is a potential powerhouse for future decarbonisation of energy. Although in countries like Iceland and the Nordic Regions, it’s a well-established renewable source of energy, many other countries are yet to view it as an option yet, preferring wind and solar.

Yet, like tidal, geothermal is a source of energy that’s entirely predictable and doesn’t rely on fickle weather patterns. Unlike wind, solar and tidal, geothermal has a very low visual impact and it is even possible to keep the entire operation below ground.

The potential is huge – but across Europe, many countries don’t see geothermal as an obvious investment, looking instead to more well-known renewables like wind.

“The problem with geothermal energy is that people don’t see it and don’t understand it, unlike wind turbines which are visible everywhere,” says Kevin Mallin, Managing Director of Geolorn Ltd, a project management and drilling engineering consultancy, which is a member of the GEO-DRILL and OptiDrill Horizon 2020 projects.

“Geothermal energy’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness – out of sight, out of mind. Everyone understands geothermal in Iceland. But when you come to the UK, nobody does. In parts of Germany, it’s highly rated, in Scandinavia, highly related, but across most of Europe generally, geothermal is a difficult sell.”

And the Geo Drill consortium want geothermal to sell across Europe. Ideally, Mallin says, geothermal could provide a large slice of the energy needs in Europe, particularly heat energy for homes and industrial spaces it is likely that only a small percentage of those needs will be provided by geothermal.