UNEXUP 1st Progress meeting, online

On Thursday and Friday (23 and 24 July) the UNEXUP consortium met online for the First Progress Meeting. In UNEXUP, LPRC leads the communication and dissemination efforts. Balazs Bodo, Adrienn Cseko, Luís Lopes and Márcio Tameirão participated in the e-meeting from the company’s side.

On the first day work package leaders presented their current work status and next steps for 2020 and later, while the second day was dedicated to further discussions about the plan of actions for the future. In this opportunity, Márcio Tameirão represented LPRC as the leader of Work Package 4 – Communication, dissemination and outreach with a presentation that covered the past and current dissemination efforts, as well as the future activities in order to promote the UNEXUP technology towards the key stakeholders, and to generate market interest through the UNEXUP website, social media channels, publications, brochures, events and other outreach materials.

WP4 presentation was made by Márcio Tameirão

One of the main topics of the presentation was the ongoing “Call for Pilots” campaign on social media, whose purpose is to attract potential pilot sites where the UNEXUP technology can conduct real-life surveying missions under a real service-to-client approach. In addition, to demonstrate the robots’ capabilities to produce valuable geoscientific data from these sites, and to further calibrate and develop the technology based on the outcomes of the pilots.

LPRC leads the three tasks of WP4: 4.1 – Communication and dissemination management; 4.2 –  Outreach support toolkit; and 4.3 – Increasing market interest. In addition, it is the leader of the related Task 0.4 – Customer relations, under WP0 (Market strategy and business development portfolio), besides horizontal support in order Work Packages’ activities.

A total of eight institutions participated in the e-meeting

The EU green deal: a new energy and climate policy framework for a Geothermal decade?

On 10 July 2020, EGEC hosted an IGN online meeting on geothermal energy’s place in the new EU Green Deal Framework. The discussion was mainly centered around the idea that the new decade will be a Geothermal Decade. To back up this claim, Philip Dumas (EGEC’s Secretary) first exposed the growing relevance of geothermal in the current EU energy market. The push toward climate neutrality by 2050 together with an increasing number of renewable energy sources will call for smart management of the energy load and baseload energy to ensure constant levels of electricity throughout the day while fluctuating energy sources such as wind, hydro and solar can rapidly respond to a spike or a decrease in energy demand. According to experts, geothermal energy can serve as baseload energy sources as its energy output is constant throughout the day and available 24/7. In addition, geothermal energy can provide both heating and cooling which represent 64.4% of the energy consumption of an average EU household.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the urgent need for green recovery in Europe and beyond. As such, Phillipe Dumas exposed several current and forthcoming EU funding schemes that will be suited for Geothermal Energy (exploration, drilling and operation) together with EU initiatives for green development as part of both the Green Recovery and the surrounding European Green Deal.

  • Clean Energy for EU Islands: The Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat is an initiative on behalf of the European Commission aimed at catalysing the clean energy transition on EU Islands. European islands often face significant challenges when it comes to energy supply and energy costs. Due to geographic location, small economies of scale, and limited or absent interconnection to the mainland or to other islands, many islands are still heavily dependent upon costly imported fossil fuels to generate electricity or to meet their heating and cooling needs. Unlike other intermittent energy sources, geothermal energy could provide a stable, sustainable, and affordable energy supply for a wide variety of potential uses that are not restricted to electricity generation but encompass many types of direct uses.
  • Coal Region Transition under the framework of the Just Transition: Geothermal energy is in many ways similar to conventional extractive industries such as mining for minerals. It requires extensive understanding of geological formations to identify possible production sites. The equipment and know-how for developing a geothermal production closely resembles those for conventional drilling. Geothermal projects are not comparable to mining jobs, which are steady on the same site for decades, but a thorough industrial strategy to promote geothermal heat and power production can contribute to the solution with the development of many smaller projects over long periods in a same region, and ad-hoc industries like tourism, agro-industry, and balneology. By contributing to reducing energy poverty and improving quality of life: coal regions tend to be characterized by a high prevalence of energy poverty due to low building quality and low income for a large swath of the population. By replacing coal for home heating, and with no air-emissions, geothermal is a solution for improving air quality in cities.
  • Just Transition Fund: The European Union is committed in becoming  the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050. This requires significant investment from both the EU and the national public sector, as well as the private sector. The European Green Deal’s Investment Plan – the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan – will mobilise public investment and help to unlock private funds through EU financial instruments, notably InvestEU, which would lead to at least €1 trillion of investments.
  • The Innovation Fund: an European Financing programme that stems from the EU ETS, which aims to invest part of the revenues from the European carbon trading scheme to the development of innovative clean energy technologies. The Innovation Fund does not restrict any innovative first-of-a-kind technology, provided its demonstration leads to material avoidance of GHG emissions, it has the potential for widespread application or to significantly lower the costs of transitioning towards a low-carbon economy in the covered sectors.

LPRC joins the “In the Black 2020” online event

LPRC members Márcio Tameirão and Luís Lopes took part at the “In the Black 2020” online conference, representing the UNEXUP project. This short e-meeting was held on the 2nd July and was organized by INESC TEC (a team that collaborates with LPRC frequently). From the UNEXUP side, a talk on the project’s developments and objectives was given by the project coordinator.

The event, subtitled “The Safety of People and the Planet through the Application of Technology” envisaged to bring together projects and companies that are raising standards in the Health and Safety aspects of the mining value chain through innovations – such is the case of the UNEXUP project, where LPRC has the important role of Communication and Dissemination of activities and results.

CROWDTHERMAL Consortium e-meeting, online

On the 2nd July 2020, the CROWDTHERMAL consortium had its second Consortium e-meeting since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This productive meeting unfolded in two parts. First, partners addressed the problems caused by the worldwide pandemic and responding lockdown affecting the project such as postponing face-to-face meetings and delays in some Work Packages involving on-site studies. Thanks to the fruitful internal discussions among partners, the CROWDTHERMAL consortium shall not suffer any permanent drawbacks and shall pursue its goal of empowering EU citizens in the development of geothermal projects with the help of alternative financing schemes.

Second, the CROWDTHERMAL consortium reflected on the work performed during the first 10 months of the project and each partner drew a roadmap of its foreseen actions. At this occasion, La Palma Research Centre had the opportunity to unveil both the preparatory work performed under Work Package 4: integrated development schemes (starting in November 2020 and led by La Palma Research Centre) and on-going and foreseen action for Work Packages 6: Dissemination and communication.

CROWDTHERMAL project e-meeting

Balazs Bodo (Senior Advisor, LPRC) presented current objectives of Work Package 4: integrated development schemes. The aim of this block will be to connect the new approaches brought forward by CROWDTHERMAL with conventional financing, public engagement and risk mitigations schemes and launch a new European mobilisation campaign with the help of social media as well as with the help of targeted conferences, workshops and by mobilising EFG Third Parties (EFG) and the Altfinator Network (CFH).

Regarding Dissemination and Communication, Gauthier Quinonez (Junior Project Manager, LPRC) presented the results of all CROWDTHERMAL social media activities. Over the past 10 months, CROWDTHERMAL social media saw a sharp increase in community engagement partly due to the weekly posting of educational factsheets on geothermal energy, demonstrating a growing interest of the European population in sustainable energy. On top of past activities, LPRC disclosed its views on the future CROWDTHERMAL Social Media Platform, which will enable better communication between project partners as well as a higher visibility of every work packages findings. The objective is for society to be able to follow closely the evolution of the project while taking an active part in geothermal energy development in Europe. To that end, La Palma Research Centre will be at the forefront of the development of CROWDTHERMAL’s strategy for advocating geothermal energy, crowdfunding for sustainable energy and citizen empowerment in green energy. This strategy will be unveiled to the public in September 2020.

Stay tuned!

MOBI-US 1st Workshop – online

Last week, LPRC actively contributed to the first MOB-US project workshop (two days event), in preparation of the first mobility window development among the networking partners.

On the first day, 30 June 2020, and after the usual introductions on the partners and the project itself, the so-called mentoring partners – LPRC is among these – presented their chapters of the guideline document, a document co-created to give best practices and possibilities for the establishment of the structured mobility pathways. LPRC presented its work on the “Skills, competence gaps and needs of the raw materials sector” tied with recommendations for implementation of future courses in the MOBI-US masters programmes. The first finished with the views and opinions of the Advisory Board, a group designed to guide and help the implementation of the project.

The second day followed discussions with presentations by the networking universities on their raw materials education programs that are going to be offered to MOBI-US students. This workshop concluded Phase 1 of the project.

A matchmaking workshop is to be held in September. The aim of this event is to get the partners together and understand their strenghts and weaknesses in teaching for common improvent. LPRC is responsible to organise this event, following our extensive experience in leading and moderating workshops.

LPRC at the “Geothermal energy in my backyard: tackling energy poverty with renewables” webinar

On June 25, took place the “Geothermal energy in my backyard: tackling energy poverty with renewables” webinar hosted by EGEC. This event tackled several issues that are particularly relevant in today’s climate.

Marion Malafosse (Policy Officer at the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy) discussed finance options laid down under the European Recovery Package, which makes available budget to advance the green and digital transition. This Package specifically reemphasizes the role of the EU Green Deal as a motor for the EU economy. In the context of carbon neutrality, heating and cooling it is expected to play a crucial role. First to decarbonise society, second to reach the industrial sector which remain to this day untouched by the green wave and third, by getting local communities involved in small scale geothermal heating projects to further increase the share of green energy in Europe.

The overarching goal of the European Commission is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. It will soon publish its EU strategy on energy system integration. This strategy is a roadmap to assess what is necessary in the energy sector in the medium and longer term. It will not only tackle electricity and cooling, but also transport, digitalization and agriculture. The aim is to assess how these pieces will play together to reach climate neutrality. This strategy will translate into policies and calls for proposals which will greatly expand the array of opportunities in green development both for citizens and companies.

The second strategy is the Renovation Wave tackling energy efficiency for buildings. A big proportion of buildings in the EU are energy inefficient. Finding strategies to change this can lower CO2 emissions, in line with EU climate objectives. In addition to call for energy efficiency development, another likely impact of this wave is to boost local jobs and local enterprises dealing with construction.

Regarding energy poverty, the webinar showcased 3 case studies, highlighting the role geothermal energy can play for local communities. Geothermal energy is not only domestic, it is local. As such, all operations related to production, operation and consumption are made at local level, benefiting local communities by reducing costs. In addition, geothermal energy is strongly developing and new technologies open the door to hybrid technologies, complex financial solutions (prosumers) and enabling cooperation with social programmes to include all citizens.

LPRC participates in the GeoConnect³d event

On the 24 June, the European Federation of Geologists hosted the “GeoConnect³d – Framing geothermal resource management” online event. The GeoConnect³d project develops and tests a new methodological approach to prepare and disclose geological information for policy support and subsurface management. The improved approach uses two regional-level case studies – the Roer-to-Rhine region and the Pannonian Basin. These regional, cross-border case studies are chosen to be complementary and sufficiently different in geological setting and degree of implementation of subsurface exploitation and management, in order to maximize their pan-European relevance. A novel bottom-up approach introduces two concepts that increase the geological understanding of an area and are aimed at providing a coherent geological context for evaluating subsurface applications and resolving subsurface management issues.

On top of the project presentation, the main discussion was on Wallonia’s (a region in Belgium) geothermal energy potential. The project discovered tangible opportunities for geothermal development on the Mons-Chaudfontaine axis. This potential is believed to be due to the particular geological setting of the Dinantian limestones. From an operational perspective, this would translate to low to medium enthalpy plants with the added benefit of being close to local communities with high demand in heating.

Based on these promising results, further investigations will be conducted and will need to go further in the central and eastern parts of Wallonia to fully discover the promising horizons and characterize them (depth, thickness, temperature and permeability).