EU Parliament adopts initiative on geothermal energy
An SWM geothermal plant in Riem.
On 18 January 2024, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report on geothermal energy at its plenary session in Strasbourg. The report emphasises the potential of this renewable energy source and calls for it to be more widely recognised and used as part of the European energy transition.
Dr Florian Bieberbach, Chairman of the Management Board of Stadtwerke München (SWM) and President of the European Association of Public Utilities CEDEC, is now calling for concrete proposals from the EU Commission to put this approach into practice: “We welcome the adoption of the own-initiative report on geothermal energy by the European Parliament. The report emphasises the importance of this renewable energy source for the European energy transition and should serve as a wake-up call for political decision-makers.”
Given the challenges of climate change and the increasing demand for clean energy, geothermal energy is a valuable resource that should be further developed and better utilised across Europe. Geothermal energy is not only sustainable, but also a reliable and independent source of energy that offers a variety of economic benefits.
Equality is long overdue
Dr Karin Thelen, SWM Managing Director Regional Energy Transition and President of the German Geothermal Energy Association, is also satisfied with the EU parliamentarians' report: “We are pleased that the European Parliament has taken up our suggestions, for example when it comes to the regulatory equality of geothermal energy with other renewable energy sources. This equalisation is long overdue and will accelerate the expansion of geothermal energy.”
Munich shows how a long-term heat transition can work. This is also recognised by the EU Commission, which praised SWM's district heating strategy as an ambitious example as part of the Fit for 55 package 2021. SWM operates one of the largest district heating networks in Germany and plans to cover Munich's district heating needs in a climate-neutral way by 2040 at the latest, primarily from geothermally generated energy.
In order to accelerate the necessary investments in geothermal projects and the expansion of the corresponding infrastructure for a climate-neutral and regional heat supply, Dr Thelen is now calling on the EU Commission to take up the proposals from the own-initiative report as soon as possible. “In order to achieve the ambitious European climate protection targets, it is imperative that the ideas set out in the report are translated into concrete measures and proposals. The EU Commission should recognise geothermal energy as an indispensable part of the European energy transition and act accordingly."