The European Commission has adopted today new rules on public support for projects in the field of environmental protection and energy which may abruptly hamper the market uptake of emerging geothermal power technologies.
The new rules aim to integrate renewables into the market. As of 2016 operating aid for renewables should be granted by way of a premium or certificates to operators which sell the electricity directly on the market. From 2017 this aid is allocated via a competitive bidding process open to all technologies regardless of the maturity.
Geothermal, however, has received very limited support compared to that received by other renewable technologies; Effective feed-in tariffs were only put in place in the last few years and in limited countries. New and breakthrough geothermal technologies like Enhanced Geothermal Systems should benefit from the same instruments in order to achieve the same cost reduction. But the new guidelines impose their phase-out, including for emerging technologies, which risks blocking investment and innovation in Europe.