Geothermal energy, as defined in the Renewable Energy Directive (see EGEC factsheet on the definition of geothermal energy
), is subjected to a wide array of environmental legislations that minimise the possible environmental impacts linked to the development of industrial activity such as developing geothermal resources.
The European, national and regional regulations about geothermal energy technologies aim to avoid environmental impacts for any segment of the value chain, from drilling to f-gas used in heat pumps for individual geothermal heating systems. These regulations can be laid out at the European level, through directive or regulations, and may be monitored by the European Environmental Agency. Enforcement however usually happens at the local level where national and regional authorities and agencies play a key role in advising new projects, monitoring existing installations and enforcing regulations in case of infringement.
The European environmental regulatory framework for geothermal energy can be summarised in the following map:
Key environmental policies and regulations for the geothermal sector include:
- Water Framework Directive
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- F-Gas regulation
Several environmental studies and life cycle analysis of geothermal plants have been published. Details of these publications can be requested to EGEC.