Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Generally, geothermal energy has encountered opposition from the local population (chiefly the inhabitants of the islands involved) because of the lack of an appropriate introduction and public relations policy by DEI, the Greek public power corporation. A 1984 law brought the exploration and exploitation of geothermal energy under the regulation of the 'mining exploration decree'; a law passed in 2003 replaced it but kept the regulation; the Development Law of 1998 favoured investments for electricity production and generation from renewable energy, but the legislation has not led to a high level of development. However, the first years of the 21st century have seen progress made in the utilisation of the geothermal resource, especially with the rise in heat pump installations.
High-enthalpy geothermal fields occur in the islands of Milos and Nisiros, which are located in the South Aegean volcanic arc. DEI attempted to install a prototype electrical generating unit of about 2 MWe in the mid-1980s, but the whole project was eventually stopped because of operational problems (mainly due to inadequacies in the system's desalination technique) and consequently opposition from the local population. There is currently no electricity generation from these two fields because of the opposition of the local people.
Low-temperature geothermal fields occurring in structurally active sedimentary basins have a considerable potential. A small proportion of this heat resource is currently utilised, with an installed capacity of about 75 MWt for space heating, greenhouse and soil heating, bathing and spas, industrial uses, fish farming, cultivation of spiroulina and geothermal heat pumps.
Research conducted by the Institute of Geological and Mineral Exploration (IGME) has discovered many new areas of geothermal potential in the northern regions of Macedonia and Thrace, the Aegean Islands and the northwestern region of Epirus and despite the lack of fast growth, there are several projects under development. These include an 80 000 m2 heating and cooling scheme for the Macedonian regional airport and various heating/cooling systems for further space heating, greenhouse heating and fish farming.