To date, the Canary Islands do not have reliable surveys on their geothermal potential. The only studies carried out were carried out in the 80s and 90s on the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife but at less than a thousand meters deep. In order to collect useful data between one thousand and two thousand meters, the councils of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Palma have joined together to participate in a call for aid of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), an entity dependent on the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. If the projects of the three councils are chosen, each of the Islands will receive 15 million euros.
In addition to requesting financing from the Government of Spain, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Palma have asked the Government of the Canary Islands for the necessary permits to carry out surveys in search of geothermal energy. These two combined strategies, those of requesting financing and permits, are carried out to try to find out if the Archipelago has sufficient resources to invest in geothermal energy, something that is unknown until now. «We cannot put on the bear’s skin before hunt it,” the scientific director of the Institute of Technology and Renewable Energy (ITER), Nemesio Pérez, warned this morning at a press conference.
Since 2008, the councils and the Canary Islands Government have invested close to seven million euros in geothermal research. How investing economic resources in these surveys is “a risk” right nowfrom public institutions they have launched the Search for financing with different private companies, forming consortia on each Island. This was explained by the Minister of Innovation, Research and Development of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Juan José Martínez; the Minister of Economic Development, Energy and R&D&I of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria; Raúl García and the Minister of Finance, Human Resources, Commerce, Training, Employment, Industry and Energy of the Cabildo of La Palma, Fernando González.
For the scientific director of ITER, although the commitment to geothermal energy is expensive, “it will be worth it” if the expected energy is found. And this way of supplying energy is “stable, because it is available 24 hours a day, and flexible.” Unlike wind and solar energy, that which is extracted from the heat of the earth “does not vary even if it is cloudy or there is no wind”. Geothermal energy, according to Pérez, is also energy with “smaller environmental footprint” and consumes “smaller territory”, something to be valued in the case of the Canary Islands.