Michal Kia, the State secretary of environment ministry, said that preparations are underway to create a new EIA law. Despite having great potential for heating the country, Slovakia currently has legislative barriers to geothermal energy development.
Although geothermal is a renewable source of energy, drilling regulations and the assessment of environmental impact are as strict for it as oil.
The new EIA law will contain recommendations from the European Commission regarding permitting processes. These will be made available to the publicConsultationsThe Commission was recently launched.
The biggest problem with geothermal energy lies in the fact that any geothermal well greater than 500 meters must be subject to an EIA. This applies to all wells in Slovakia because water with high enough temperatures lies at depths greater than 500 metres.
This system is unfair and delays the permitting process, and therefore the development of this source. Jn Karaba of the Slovak Association of Photovoltaic Industry, RES stated that potential investors simply aren’t interested in any projects based upon the use of geothermal energy.
Karaba said that EIA processes usually last for at least one year, but sometimes they can take longer. He added that the positive effects of geothermal drilling on the environment have been proven by international experience.
The ministry pledged to ease the EIA process for geothermal. It also stated that it was not possible to omit the EIA for geothermal wells because Slovakia is bound under the European EIA Directive.
Geothermal energy will also be encouraged by law changes.
(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)