EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

CROWDTHERMAL – A vision for citizens’ empowerment in geothermal projects

Gauthier Quinonez1, Isabel Fernandez2, Jan Hildebrand3, Georgie Friederichs4, Christina Baisch5, and Ottó Elíasson6
Gauthier Quinonez et al.
  • 1La Palma Research Centre SL, Garafía, Canary Islands (
  • 2European Federation of Geologists, Brussels, Belgium
  • 3Institute for Future Energy Systems, Saarbrücken, Germany
  • 4CrowdfundingHub, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 5GeoThermal Engineering GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 6EIMUR, Reykjavík, Iceland

CROWDTHERMAL is an EU Horizon 2020 project, developing alternative funding schemes for geothermal energy. CROWDTHERMAL supports the European Green Deal aiming at reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. To reach this goal the involvement of society is needed. In 2017, renewable energy accounted for 17.5% of the European gross energy consumption, of which only 3% were geothermal energy – despite its upsides and positive impact regarding decarbonization and heating and cooling in Europe. Geothermal is green, available 24 hours a day. CROWTHERMAL contributes to decrease dependency on fossil fuels in Europe by empowering local communities to directly participate in the development of geothermal projects via alternative financing schemes and engaging communication strategies.


To support the participation in geothermal projects, CROWDTHERMAL is analysing the perception of geothermal energy and will develop a public engagement approach making extensive use of social media. Since our project started in September 2019, the CROWDTHERMAL team has developed a set of reports, addressing social, environmental and financial aspects of community financed geothermal projects.


With regards to finance, CROWDTHERMAL formulates new financing models for community funding at national and international levels covering Member States and the EU alike. Community funding will enable citizens to collectively finance geothermal projects that will not only benefit them but also the society as a whole. The positive effect of citizens’ participation in energy projects was showcased by a report on renewable energy projects in Europe using alternative financing methods at different stages of their development published in 2020. Furthermore, an alternative finance risk inventory and potential mitigation tools have been developed. The deliverables compile the advantages, potential risks and possible risk mitigation measures for different alternative finance methods, each from a project developer’s and from a community investor’s perspective. The financial models are currently being developed and will be validated with the help of three geothermal Case Studies in Iceland, Hungary and Spain and through an European survey conducted by European Federation of Geologists’ (EFG) Third Parties.


For the remaining 1.5 years of its funded period, CROWDTHERMAL will create Core Services and a social media powered platform that will support the deployment of integrated development schemes for geothermal energy utilising alternative finance and community engagement tools. It is targeted at project developers and citizens with an interest in energy empowerment. The aim is to connect the new approaches brought forwardhighlighted by CROWDTHERMAL with conventional financing, public engagement and risk mitigation schemes. It is also planned to launch a European mobilisation campaign via social media and conferences and workshops and by mobilising EFG Third Parties and the Altfinator Network. The CROWDTHERMAL Core Services will be designed to be operated after the EC-funded period helping geothermal projects tapping into alternative finance during the years to come.



Finally, CROWDTHERMAL started to strengthen ties with the Cost Action Geothermal-DHC and lately organised two joint meetings to identify synergies and potential opportunities for cooperation. The goal is to further expand the CROWTHERMAL network to provide opportunities to test CROWDTHERMAL concepts in a growing European geothermal energy market.



How to cite: Quinonez, G., Fernandez, I., Hildebrand, J., Friederichs, G., Baisch, C., and Elíasson, O.: CROWDTHERMAL – A vision for citizens’ empowerment in geothermal projects, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9442,, 2021.