The GeoEnergy Expert Group (GEEG)
Energy is vital to the functioning of our society. We need energy to heat our homes, to produce food, for transport, and much more. But energy consumption poses two major challenges. First, our huge dependency on fossil fuels increases atmospheric CO2 and accelerates climate change. Second, domestic energy production is decreasing, so we have become more dependent on suppliers outside Europe, which are in some cases unreliable or unsustainable. The EU aims to tackle these challenges through the Green Deal by increasing domestic renewable energy, reducing consumption, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Whilst the GEEG was originally set up in response to a request from the EU Directorate General for Energy to address a demand for resource evaluation of European coal, the group has now refocused its activities, utilising its expertise on the subsurface to enable renewable energies and to support the green and sustainable transformation of the energy sector.
Novel and sustainable subsurface capacities are still underexplored. These capacities have the potential to substantially resolve Europe’s future energy needs, while also mitigating the worst effects of climate change. For example:
- Shallow and deep geothermal energy can generate low-carbon heating for cities, the agricultural sector, industry, as well as provide power generation.
- Storage of CO2 to mitigate and offset carbon emissions, enabling net negative emissions in combination with low-carbon energy generation and enabling a more sustainable industrial sector
- Storage of new fuels and energy carriers such as hydrogen, green gas, heat and cold, compressed air, and other forms of mechanical energy.
The GEEG is a key European provider of pan-European harmonised geoenergy data, in combination with extensive expertise to guide Europe through the green transition.
Over the past decade, the GEEG or members of the expert group have been involved in numerous projects regarding the use of the subsurface for energy supply. Some examples of exemplary and ongoing lighthouse projects with the involvement of GEEG members are given here:
- Geothermal Energy: Thermomap, TransEnergy, DARLINGe, GeoMol, GeoPLASMA, GRETA, Geothermal-DHC
- CO2 Storage: CGS Europe, Co2Stop
- Subsurface Storage: Estmap, Heatstore, HyStories.
Through the GeoERA Geo-energy projects (2018 – 2021), the GEEG delivered FAIR harmonised data on
- Predicting geo-energy resources and storage capacities
- Identifying synergies and bottlenecks, such as hazards and environmental impacts
- Deploying geological information in decision support and subsurface management and planning tools
- Improving dialogue with stakeholders, societal organisations and the public.
The data from the 6 GeoERA Geo-energy projects (MUSE, HotLime, GARAH, HIKE, 3DGEO-EU, and GeoConnect3d) are available through EGDI. For more information on the GeoERA Geo-energy projects please also visit: https://geoera.eu/themes/geo-energy/.
The GeoERA Geoenergy projects were a stepping stone to the current Geological Service for Europe (GSEU) project, which will focus on advancing key knowledge and pan-European databases and atlases to extend current knowledge and enable the responsible unlocking and development of geothermal energy, permanent storage of CO2 and temporary storage of sustainable energy carriers including heat and cold.