Press release | 30.01.2017

The renewable energy source: Near surface geothermal energy - Available almost everywhere, but still little known

Frankfurt am Main, 30 January 2017. The Alpine region has abundant sources of renewable energy still left largely untapped. Near surface geothermal energy is still little used and little known. Climate Alliance aims to change this with the help of the GRETA initiative (Near-surface Geothermal Resources in the Territory of the Alpine Space).

The three-year EU project (2015-2018) provides guidance in the form of targeted assistance on how to access and utilise near surface geothermal energy (NSGE). On this way GRETA fosters the dissemination of knowledge of the potential of NSGE, the exchange of best-practices on a transnational basis and the development of tools for the inclusion of NSGE in local energy planning.

The project has now reached its first year, and a picture of the current situation has been established in the addressed area (Alpine area in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland). Throughout this first year of work, stakeholders and members of the public gave feedback on GRETA’s activities though 12 local meetings and two online questionnaires.

So far, a common methodology for a broad scale map informing stakeholders about the suitability for NSGE based on technical, environmental and legal criteria has been established. Relevant data has been identified at national scale and their processing will result in an online geographical information system.

A comparative analysis of regulations related to NSGE has been carried out. This shows how the number of territorial entities involved in defining and enforcing regulations is variable: while in France the regulations are defined at a national level, in most countries regional and national regulations are superposed.

Besides, a catalogue of existing techniques and best practices for the utilisation of NSGE in the Alpine region has been published to show the broad applicability of NSGE systems and to explain their differences. It shall help the reader to decide which type of NSGE-use is suitable to meet individual demand, taking into consideration climatic conditions.

Finally, the municipality of Cerkno (Slovenia), the district of Oberallgäu (Germany) and the region of Aosta Valley (Italy) have been selected as the three pilot areas. Here, detailed methodologies for the integration of NSGE in local energy planning will be developed and implemented.

The published documents are all freely available on the Climate Alliance website and the GRETA website.


Janina Emge
Climate Alliance | +49 69 7171 39-27 | j.emge(at)

Dr. Andreas Kress
Climate Alliance | +49 69 7171 39 -33 | a.kress(at)


Academia Europea Bolzano (Italy)   
ARPA Valle d'Aosta (Italy)
BRGM (France)   
Climate Alliance (Germany)
Geologische Bundesanstalt (Austria)   
Geološki zavod Slovenije (Slovenia)
INDURA (France)   
Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Regione Lombardia (Italy)   
Technische Universität München (Germany)
Triple S-GmbH (Germany)   
Universität Basel und Kantonsgeologie (Switzerland)