Greece has announced plans to tap into geothermal energy in order to meet part of the energy demands of the Cycladic islands in the Aegean.
Geothermal energy is heat generated within the Earth. (‘Geo’ means “earth,” and ‘thermal’ means “heat” in Greek.) It is a renewable resource that can be harvested for human use.
A new decision by Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas sets out the conditions and procedure for the leasing and exploitation of geothermal fields for the production of electricity.
The largest geothermal field is located at the island complex of Milos, Kimolos, and Polyaigos, for which PPC Renewables has received an operating license, as well as for the Nisyros and Methana fields.
The Milos-Kimolos-Polyaigos field, according to the Hellenic Society for the Environment and Culture, could cover about half of the energy needs of the Cyclades.
Venture established to utilize geothermal energy
In order to utilize the geothermal fields in question, PPC Renewables has created a joint venture with Ilektor.
Meanwhile, the Regulatory Authority for Energy decided that the producer license secured by PPC Renewables for a geothermal power plant, with an installed capacity of eight megawatts on Lesvos, should be transferred to the PPC-Ilektor venture known as “Geothermal Target 2.”
According to the plan, by 2025, the first power generation unit will have been built and operated, and the next ones will follow in consultation with the local communities.
Geothermal heating, using water from hot springs, for example, has been used for bathing since Paleolithic times and for space heating since ancient Roman times.
More recently, geothermal power, the term used for the generation of electricity from geothermal energy, has increased in importance.
It is estimated that the earth’s geothermal resources are theoretically more than adequate to supply humanity’s energy needs, although only a very small fraction is currently being profitably exploited—often in areas near tectonic plate boundaries.
Geothermal technology extracts the heat found within the subsurface of the earth, which can be used directly for heating and cooling or be converted into electricity.
However, to generate electricity, medium- or high-temperature resources are needed. These are usually located close to tectonically active regions where hot water and/or steam is carried to the Earth’s surface or can be accessed at shallow depths.