Geothermal energy – a local answer to a hot topic?
- Parliamentary Assembly
adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of
the Assembly, on 21 May 2010 (see Doc. 12249, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture
and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Rouquet).
1 Geothermal energy is currently
used in 90 countries around the globe, 24 of which use it to produce electricity.
Geothermal energy is far from new, having been used as an energy
source as long ago as the 14th century.
2 Geothermal energy is an interesting solution to the worldwide
dwindling gas and oil reserves. According to some experts, it even
offers the best cost-effectiveness ratio of all renewable energy
3 Furthermore, the Earth's heat is an abundant source of energy
which pollutes little and has considerable potential, as its possibilities
are still largely unexploited, particularly where private users,
urban heating networks or industry and agriculture are concerned.
4 The Parliamentary Assembly stresses that geothermal energy
has a great many advantages, owing to its availability, its low
operating cost, its integration in the sustainable energy mix and
its positive impact on the environment.
5 However, the Assembly notes that the exploitation of geothermal
energy still suffers from shortcomings, mainly in legislative or
regulatory terms (vague legislation, complex and lengthy administrative
procedures, etc.) or of a financial or economic nature (investment
costs still too high, inadequate risk coverage and insurance mechanisms,
6 Accordingly, the Assembly considers it expedient to set up
common instruments, at European level, to facilitate investment
in geothermal projects, as well as financial investment intended
to cover investors should technical problems arise.
7 The Assembly regrets in this respect that the public is sometimes
reluctant to accept geothermal energy projects, owing to a generally
recognised lack of information and awareness-raising.
8 In this context, the Assembly believes that local elected
representatives and political decision makers have a paramount role
to play in making the general public and potential investors aware
of the need for a green transformation and the potential of geothermal
energy as an effective instrument in response to climate change.
Consequently, the Assembly invites the Council of Europe member
and observer states to:
the development of geothermal operations in their national energy
9.2 encourage the use of geothermal energy in all its forms,
9.3 encourage international co-operation in the transfer of
technology and the financing of geothermal development;
9.4 increase realisation and awareness among the general public
and potential investors of the advantages of geothermal technologies
for a sustainable energy infrastructure;
9.5 take the necessary steps to set up strategic research
programmes and encourage the exploitation of geothermal energy resources;
9.6 foster the introduction of financing and insurance schemes
9.7 encourage the setting-up of transfrontier co-operation
schemes to finance surface measurements and test drillings;
9.8 introduce a European training and professional development
9.9 draw up a map of European geothermal energy resources
within the framework of co-operation between the geological research
bodies of each country.
10 The Assembly also invites the Council of Europe member and
observer states to harmonise the system of risk guarantees and the
regulatory and administrative regime for the use of geothermal energy
through the introduction of common instruments.
11 Additionally, the Assembly invites the Congress of Local and
Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to encourage local
authorities to be reliable partners in the development and operation
phases of geothermal projects.