Slovakia to develop geothermal energy to lower Russian energy dependency

Geothermal is the last of all renewable energy sources not represented in the energy mix of domestic electricity production despite experts pointing to its vast potential. Currently, geothermal is only used in a small part of Eastern Slovakia for heating.  [Shutterstock/Johann Helgason]

Efforts to lower dependence on Russian energy is speeding up local geothermal projects in Slovakia that had been gaining traction before the invasion of Ukraine.

The pilot project of a geothermal power plant in Central Slovak town Žiar nad Hronom recently received investment from SSE Holding, one of the main electricity distributors in the country owned partly by the state and partly by the EPH group of Czech billionaire Daniel Křetinský.

PW Energy initially proposed the project, but EPH announced on Thursday that it now co-owns the smaller company. The new owner decided to expand the project from 13 megawatts to 20.

Geothermal is the last of all renewable energy sources not represented in the energy mix of domestic electricity production despite experts pointing to its vast potential. Currently, geothermal is only used in a small part of Eastern Slovakia for heating.

“The war in Ukraine shows that the shift away from fossil fuels is not only an environmental but also a security and strategic interest of Slovakia. There is a huge potential for geothermal energy under the ground, but the state is not developing it much,” said Michal Mašek from PW Energy.

The geothermal potential of Slovakia is estimated at 5,500 megawatts. If fully exploited, Slovakia could supply hundreds of thousands of households with heat and, to a lesser extent, electricity.

Slovakia sleeping on the potential of geothermal is made clear by the fact that it is not featured in any of its strategic documents.

However, with the war in Ukraine, the European Commission is now more openly talking about geothermal potential. According to Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, geothermal could mainly be used in heating but also in electricity production in the future.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe