GEOTHERMAL PROSPECTS: in Ukraine, geothermal energy can replace 10 billion cubic meters of gas

In Ukraine, it is possible to extract about 90 billion kWh of geothermal energy annually and replace 10 billion cubic meters of gas.

According to the Institute of Renewable Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 7 central and western regions of the country have a geothermal energy potential of 6-7 billion kWh per year each.

Hot underground water can be used for heating and electricity production, depending on the temperature regime of underground sources.

At a temperature of 50°C, limited areas can be heated; for large-scale heating, it is necessary to reach the water with a temperature of more than 70°C. Electricity can be produced at a water temperature of at least 120-170°C using an intermediate substance that is heated; with water at 170-220 °C, the steam-water mixture can be heated directly, and above 220 °C, electricity generation using dry steam is possible.

There are not many hot springs in Ukraine: some are located in Crimea and Donbas, and the most accessible ones are in Zakarpattia. High mineralization of the coolant requires the use of special anti-corrosion materials and equipment for the removal and disposal of gases. As a result, about half of the plant’s total capacity goes to process maintenance, and the high cost of drilling and arranging wells makes these projects quite expensive at the start.

Today, near Uzhgorod, an underground circulation system is operating in a well 2.3 km deep with a temperature of 124°C, heating greenhouses and a livestock complex.  In Ukraine, there are still no geothermal stations that work according to the principle of a closed loop.

Because of the available underground water reserves in some regions in Ukraine, it is possible to produce energy by geothermal means. This is also facilitated by the legislation of Ukraine in the field of alternative energy (in particular, in the part of the “green” tariff for this little-used source of renewable energy).

The main problem is to regulate the use of the resource itself even before the start of electricity production. Paying two types of rent, obtaining different names, but similar in essence, permits the use of resources in two different departments creating bureaucratic barriers for potential producers of geothermal electricity and adversely affecting the financial model and credit attractiveness of such projects. Link:

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