“Geothermal energy is a strategic sector for Italy, despite the fact that it has been completely neglected for many decades: I hope today will be the starting point for the development of a new national plan”. This was stated by Giorgio Baresi, 2021 Nobel Prize Laureate for Physics, who spoke at the Geothermal Energy Conference organized by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.
“It is clear that countries that are able to independently produce the energy needed for their needs are more resilient in the face of crises and price hikes, such as the one we are facing.” .
In fact, the conference aims to revitalize a technology pioneered by Italy that could prove fundamental not only for our country but for the whole world, in view of the climate crisis closely related to the use of fossil fuels. “Given the global climate crisis and its implications for energy needs – comments Carlo Doglioni, President of the National Institute of Geology and Volcanology who will be taking part in the event – geothermal energy can make a significant contribution to the energy mix needed for the transition that the world is witnessing to cope.”
Giorgio Parisi also explains why geothermal energy is so promising and what advantages it can offer: “It does not depend on the availability of resources such as minerals and rare earths or on meteorological conditions and is a very reliable source of energy. Moreover – adds the Nobel Prize – in This area Italy has a great advantage over all other European countries, with the exception of Iceland, because it contains many volcanic areas that provide high heat, so we do not need to drill deeply to exploit geothermal energy.
Manzilla (Cnr), less bureaucracy and more financing
Italy is still one of the first European countries in the production of geothermal energy, which accounts for about 2% of energy needs, but progress is very slow and not very ambitious: “Our country has great potential in terms of geothermal energy”, Adele Manzella, member of the International Energy Association Geothermal and a researcher at the Institute of Earth Sciences and Geological Resources of the National Research Council, according to the American News Agency (ANSA). “The resources and technical skills are there – says Manzella – only the political will is missing: more funding, less bureaucracy and better information will be needed, to avoid the poor perception that the public often feels about this type of energy. But, above all this requires organization and long-term planning.
The only drawback of geothermal energy, in fact, is that it requires the drilling of wells, notes the researcher. Therefore, these are interventions that need to be planned. The initial investment is huge – says Manzella – but it is paid back very quickly.” This is also because production plants fit well into local economies, which is a defining advantage of geothermal energy: “There are many applications, from heat pumps for home heating to large plants to produce Electricity,” says Adele Manzella. In the Netherlands, for example, it is also used a lot for heating greenhouses.
The importance of geothermal energy also lies in its ability to meet thermal requirements, which constitute half of the total energy requirements. “Our country is very far behind in this matter: in Europe many district heating projects are being launched – adds Manzella – instead in Italy there are few plants almost exclusively in the northern center and very few depend on renewable energies”.
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