Representatives of government and industry from Iceland, Japan and the European Union, met in Brussels last week for a workshop on cooperation in geothermal issues. The workshop was held in the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee. The representatives agreed that geothermal energy, a widely available resource which is clean, stable and sustainable, will become increasingly important as an alternative to traditional energy resources across the globe.
The workshop was organised by the European Geothermal Energy Council, the Icelandic Mission to the European Union and the EU-Japan Centre.
Mr. Jonas Ketilsson from the National Energy Authority in Iceland discussed geothermal energy policy from an Icelandic perspective, informing the workshop that geothermal resources are utilized both for electricity generation and direct heat application in Iceland and 66% of the nations' primary energy supply comes from geothermal energy. Runólfur Maack from Mannvit Engineering presented successful case studies on geothermal in Iceland and abroad, particularly in Hungary.
Representing the European Union at the event were Agustin Escardino Malva, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission and Mr. Carlo Minini from Turboden. Mr. Gunter Siddiqi, Head of Geothermal Research at the Swiss Federal Office of Energy also addressed the workshop. Mr. Nobuhiko Hara of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries gave a presentation on the implementation of geothermal energy in Japan while Ms. Kuniko Urashima, a senior research fellow from the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy at MEXT shared her view on the change in focus in Japan from nuclear to geothermal energy.
The concluding remarks were given by Mr. Stéphane Buffetaut, President of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and Information Society at the European Economic and Social Committee, where he discussed the future development and utilization of geothermal energy. The workshop was moderated by Professor Gerd Wolf, Vice – President of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and Information Society at the EESC, Andri Luthersson, Counsellor at the Icelandic Mission to the European Union and Mr. Burkhard Sanner, the President of EGEC.