Where are we with geothermal risk mitigation schemes?

September 24, 2021

After three years of GEORISK project, where are we with geothermal risk mitigation schemes?

The GEORISK project lasted over three years during which the European policy and regulatory framework continued to evolve. Started right after the adoption of the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive, the GEORISK project is finishing as the European Commission issued amendment proposals for the same Renewable Energy Directive to increase the RES target to 2030 from 32% to 40%. Meanwhile, the regulatory framework for geothermal project evolved greatly at the national level, most notably with the implementation of an ambitious geothermal risk mitigation scheme in Hungary.

Over the duration of the GEORISK project, geothermal risk mitigation schemes were increasingly recognised as a successful measure to promote geothermal energy project and allow the market uptake of this renewable energy source. The work of the GEORISK project in disseminating the best practices from successful geothermal risk mitigation schemes has been crucial in enabling this recognition, especially at the European level. Indeed, the amendment proposed by the European Commission in 2021 notably include “risk mitigation frameworks to reduce the cost of capital for renewable heat and cooling projects” as a key measure to enable Member States to reach their renewable heating and cooling objectives. This proposal is a major first step towards the establishment of a European framework for geothermal risk mitigation, as have been promoted by the GEORISK project. It also brings this policy option to Member States that might not have considered it before.

Beyond the inclusion of risk mitigation schemes, notably for geothermal, in European legislative proposals, the 3 years of the GEORISK project have also seen major steps taken by various countries looking to update or enlarge existing schemes or establish new ones. Wallonia, Denmark, Poland, Greece, France are as many countries looking to expand the availability of risk mitigation schemes and implement best practices – reflecting the relevance of the work undertaken by GEORISK.

As GEORISK comes to an end, geothermal risk mitigation has indeed gained awareness across Europe. The road is far from over, and the transition in risk mitigation schemes will continue to be a challenge, while many European countries are still far from a successful geothermal risk mitigation scheme.