SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Nov. 19 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Geothermal energy can supply almost all the energy of La Palma, once the volcano eruption has concluded, and could be a renewable and sustainable energy solution for the electricity generation of the Canary Islands.
This has been stated by different geothermal experts during a debate organized by the Illustrious Official College of Geologists (ICOG) within the framework of the GENERA 2021 fair, although they recognize that it is necessary to investigate more and have the support of public institutions.
“La Palma is the best island to promote geothermal energy because it could produce most of the island’s energy demand,” according to Celestino García, an IGME mining engineer specializing in geothermal energy.
For this, it is necessary to promote research and undertake more survey studies, when the activity of the volcano concludes.
“The magma is very close to the surface, although due to the island’s topography it would be necessary to drill at great depths to generate geothermal energy,” admits the expert.
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES IN GEOTHERMY
In this regard, the IGME mining engineer recalls that the island of Tenerife offers better prospects in geothermal resource research because there are more advanced geophysical and biochemical studies.
“We know where to drill, although we are aware that 90% of the island’s territory is protected,” he explains.
In this sense, García highlights technological advances such as thermoelectric cells that allow energy to be produced between the subsoil and the atmospheric air.
“In the Timanfaya Park in Lanzarote it is being tested: it is a non-aggressive system that allows to show the power of the subsoil to generate electrical energy”, he indicates.
Other advances are stimulated geothermal energy where a reservoir is created artificially where there is a hot rock.
“We inject water and we extract heat,” says García, who regrets that environmental legislation has confused geothermal with ‘fracking’.
“They are different: in geothermal energy, the water does not contain additives, there is no residue, it is a closed circuit,” says the IGME scientist.
GEOTHERMY TO CHANGE THE ENERGY MODEL
For her part, Scherezade Díaz, an expert hydrogeologist in geothermal and deep geothermal fields, presented the cases of Iceland and Mexico, countries where she has worked on geothermal projects, and commented on how geothermal has changed the energy model.
“Iceland has many geothermal research projects to find supercritical fluids near magma,” he details.
To do this, it has an attractive legal framework and mitigation funds for the energy transition.
In his view, geothermal energy is a good business and a source of local employment that provides energy independence.
“In the case of the Canary Islands, electricity generation is very expensive on the islands because you have to charter ships with diesel and burn it there, therefore the Canary Islands is an ideal place for geothermal energy,” he suggests.
However, the expert hydrogeologist admits that there is a need for more qualified professionals in Spain and to have institutional and social support to support geothermal energy. “It is confused with ‘fracking’ and it has nothing to do with it,” he points out.
GREEN FILTER FOR AID IN GEOTHERMY
Maite Fernández de Retana of the IDAE (Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy) of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, described geothermal energy as “a lever for change” in the recovery after the pandemic.
In this sense, he detailed the axes of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan within the framework of the Next Generation European funds. “More than 40% of the funds are earmarked for energy transition,” he says.
In the plan’s geothermal incentive program, the energy rehabilitation of buildings and the self-consumption and storage projects with renewable sources are the main components of the aid lines.
However, he warned that all aid to geothermal energy must pass a “green filter” that certifies that it does not cause significant damage to climate change, the uses of water and marine resources, the circular economy or biodiversity and ecosystems.
“There is a lot of potential for geothermal energy in Spain, it is a good time to bet on it although the important initial investment is a barrier to entry,” concluded the IDAE spokeswoman.