Despite significant geothermal potential in many regions of Greece, the utilisation of this great resources is so far limited. This is mostly credited to the existing legislative framework that does not provide sufficient flexibility in the exploitation of geothermal resources in order to benefit local investors and public bodies, as fields are managed together with the exploitation of the resources. There is also no real management by dedicated scientists with regards to the sustainability, only an exploitation by individuals to whom the geothermal fields have been allocated.
Therefore the government is looking for ways to help geothermal contribute to the country’s energy balance as a renewable energy source. With the potential for reduction in energy costs in agriculture and fish farming, sustainable management of hot water reserves and measures to prevent chemical and thermal pollution, as well as extension of the district heating of buildings, are seen as crucial for new legislative framework.
The importance of the development of geothermal energy for the primary energy sector has also been mentioned by Prime Minister Al. Tsipras last November at a recently held conference. His government is said to be moving a relevant draft law to be soon to enter public consultation.
Emphasis will be placed on low-temperature geothermal fields (defined as a heat of 25-90 degrees Celsius) which can be used mainly in greenhouses, fish farms and drying units, reducing their operating costs vertically, but also for heating homes, schools and hospitals.
With the new institutional framework, exploitation is to be separated from management of the resources, e.g. in low-temperature areas, characterised as local interest that are the responsibility of local decentralized management. Only the exploitation of the resource will be offered to interested investors, management and ensuring sustainability will be in the hand of a scientific/ research body of its choice.
However, high temperature geothermal fields (above 90 degrees Celsius) are expected to remain the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy as they are used for power generation and are therefore designated as national interest.