EU Ministers to Discuss Geothermal Financing for 2030 Climate Goals

EU energy ministers are set to engage in a crucial discussion about financing geothermal power as a vital component in achieving the bloc’s intermediate climate target of 2030. This informal meeting, scheduled for next week in Budapest, will see national delegations exploring innovative approaches to enhance the financial viability of geothermal investments.

The agenda, reviewed by Euronews, highlights a focus on incentivizing and fostering cooperation between EU countries for district heating and cooling systems – a centralized method of distributing heat and coolness through insulated pipes for residential and commercial purposes.

On Monday, July 15th, ministers will embark on a visit to an operational geothermal drilling site in Tököl, south of Budapest. This site visit will be followed by Tuesday’s discussions centered on harnessing the potential of subterranean heat.

The Hungarian Presidency of the EU Council has made the promotion of geothermal energy a cornerstone of its work program, proposing new business models fortified by risk mitigation measures. While this proposal has garnered mixed responses, the Hungarian presidency is determined to advance its objectives.

“The idea [geothermal energy and possible financing] is currently still being discussed internally but no decision has been taken so far,” an EU diplomat told Euronews. Another diplomat echoed this sentiment, stating, “Our overall position is that we don’t want to pre-empt the multiannual financial framework (MFF) discussions with proposals for new funds.”

Austrian Minister Leonore Gewessler, confirmed her participation in the Budapest meeting. The Austrian Ministry emphasized the critical role of geothermal energy in bolstering renewable and clean energy production, both at the national and EU level. “We support the idea of funding programs, especially because there are relatively high investment costs to locate promising geothermal areas and tailored instruments are needed as well,” the ministry stated.

Sanjeev Kumar, head of EU policy at the European Geothermal Energy Council, expressed enthusiastic support for the upcoming ministerial debate in Budapest. “This is the first step towards a European geothermal strategy, growing our economy and make our energy system affordable again,” he remarked.

A background document obtained by Euronews highlights the immense potential of geothermal energy, despite its current minor contribution to the EU’s renewable energy production. The document emphasizes its characteristics as a stable, reliable, and locally sourced energy source, capable of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing energy security by replacing imported fossil fuels.

Several EU member states, including Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Portugal, already harness geothermal energy for power production. Building on this foundation, the Hungarian Presidency aims to expand geothermal utilization across the EU to bolster the bloc’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

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