14 July 2022 | 8 minutes.

The Energy Transition

The world's first closed-cycle geothermal heat plant in an abandoned oil well in Kiskunhalas, Hungary.

Photo: Laszlo Kakucsi


For this year’s energy issue REVOLVE reached out to its partners at DecarbEurope for images that best represented the energy transition in their industries. The result is a cross-section of the work being done across a range of sectors – from geothermal energy to heat pumps – all pushing Europe towards a low-carbon economy.

DecarbEurope engages decision-makers in policy and industry with solutions that can, in a cost-effective manner, decarbonize Europe. With a growing membership representing more than 20 sectors, the initiative connects technologies, policies and markets to drive the energy transition. To learn more visit decarbeurope.org
Decarbonization is the key. Leave a green footprint for your descendants. With the power of the sun and our actual technologies we can be a huge part in Decarbonization. The Solar Thermal solutions are mature and proven over many years. Invest in our common future. Photo: GREENoneTEC Wien Energie Vienna
A sea of blue in the land of Viking Chief Harald Bluetooth. The historical Danish village of Jelling, started to act and provide its residents with cleaner energy in 2016. Jelling Varmeværk is the district heating plant of the village and the 20,125 m² solar collector field covers more than 25% of the town’s energy need for heating. Apart from the solar collectors installed by the Finnish company ‘Savosolar’, the plant has also a wood chip boiler, a heat pump and two gas CHP engines. Why did they choose to install these blue coloured solar thermal heat collectors? In Europe, almost half of final energy demand is represented by heating and cooling, compared to a 28% for transport and only 25% for electricity. More than that, space heating and hot water represent over 80% of the energy consumption in European households. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Europe must act on heat decarbonisation, and solutions like solar thermal heat that provide direct renewable heat can play a major role by enabling the transition right now. Photo: Source: Solar Heat Europe
Visit of some Som Energia cooperative members to the Fontivsolar solar plant. The plant was built thanks to the contributions of 3,745 people and it produces electricity to supply 690 homes. Fontiveros, Ávila (Spain) – 2018. Photo: Som Energia Cooperativa
Westmill Solar Co-operative members celebrate their successful share raise to buy what was (at the time) the world’s largest solar energy cooperative. The landowner and green activist and his wife, who worked so hard to make the project a reality are in the centre of the picture along with some of the 1,600 members who raised the funds for the project. Westmill in Oxfordshire (UK) – 2013. Photo: Westmill Solar Co-operative
Greeneco Enerji Geothermal Power Plant, Saraykoy, Turkey, 12 MW binary power plant started up in 2016. Photo: Exergy International Srl
Pico Alto Geothermal Power Plant, Terceira Island, Azores, 4 MWe binary power plant started up in 2017. Photo: Exergy International Srl
Future-proof solutions. There is a growing focus on minimizing negative environmental impacts. The sun is the most environmentally friendly source of energy, and installing a solar district heating system signals a strong desire to protect the environment, resulting in a greener and more positive image. Photo: GREENoneTEC Arcon Sunmark Vraa
Costless hot water. The sun, source of infinite energy and source of all life. With our solar thermal technologies we can earn the energy of the sun for free. Let´s build on our common future with a beautiful outlook. No Co² emissions, independence, happy living beings and a green future for all of us. Photo: GREENoneTEC Nigeria Thermosiphon Systems
Solar heat. Photo: GREENoneTEC
Johannes Fenger, engineer assistant at Vattenfall Wärme Berlin is the winner of the photo contest “Meet the ones who keep you warm!” organised by Euroheat & Power in the framework of the #DHCitizen campaign. His photo attracted 78 reactions across different social media platforms. His place of work, the CHP plant at Berlin-Mitte, is one of the most modern in Europe and supplies 1.3 million Berlin residential units with heat in a bonded system. On the way to phasing out coal and towards a fossil-free living, Johannes and his colleagues ensure that the system grows while maintaining the same quality of supply. The #DHCitizen campaign aims to improve the perception of district heating at a local level, establishing district heating as a viable solution for the energy transition in the minds of citizens. For more information, please visit: www.dhcitizen.eu. Photo: Vattenfall Wärme Berlin / Euroheat & Power
Shiny comfort I and II – inside of a heat pump. Photo: Thomas Nowak
Shiny comfort I and II – inside of a heat pump. Photo: Thomas Nowak
The world’s first closed-loop geothermal heat recovery system has been put in place in Kiskunhalas by the engineers of MS Energy Solutions Ltd. from Hungary in a barren oil and gas prospecting well. The thermal heat plant now put in place in a deep wellbore drilled in Kiskunhalas, Hungary in the 1970s is a 100% green renewable energy producing system and is particularly advantageous for municipalities, agricultural and horticultural businesses, and private companies. The “WeHEAT” (Wells for Heat Exchanging Advanced Technology) type heat generating system on an existing well is suitable for small- and large-scale district heating projects, provides the well with a 300kw- to1MW thermal energy generating capacity. Such an amount of energy is enough to heat a structure of a floor area of about 15 thousand square metres with a poor energy insulation system (e.g. greenhouse) or a building complex with an efficient heat insulation system, of a floor area of up to 50-60 000 square metres, such as a condominium consisting of 600 apartments. This self-contained closed-loop system is a stable geothermal heat production plant; however the technology can be used for both heat and power solutions. No exploration risk, no fracking or stimulation, no reservoir required, no running costs and an extended well life span. Photo: Laszlo Kakucsi
Pioneering a green hydrogen economy | EMEC’s Operations Technician performing maintenance on EMEC’s green hydrogen production plant on the island of Eday in Orkney, Scotland. Photo: Colin Keldie, courtesy of EMEC
Magallanes Renovables, currently testing their 1.5MW ATIR tidal platform at Fall of Warness, Orkney, Scotland. Photo: Colin Keldie, Courtesy Ocean_2G
A stationary buoy in the tides at the European Marine Energy Centre’s tidal energy test site in Orkney. Photo: Colin Keldie, Courtesy Ocean_2G
This hotel only needs one star: the Sun. The successful energy transition is critical for Europe’s decarbonisation goals, and while electric vehicles and green electricity are trending, the biggest share of energy that we need to decarbonise is heat. Heating and cooling represents almost 50% of the energy demand in Europe and only 18% is currently produced from renewable sources. Technologies already available like solar thermal, which provide direct renewable heat can be a game-changer in Europe’s energy transition. Besides producing clean energy without any CO2 emissions, solar thermal heat does so with low energy costs and providing European made solutions to any location in Europe. The city hotel Wilhelmshof in Vienna with 200 guest beds got a solar heating system as part of an expansion in 2008. The 110 kWh system is the second largest solar system on a hotel in Vienna. “We save around 4 000 euros in gas costs a year by using the sun”, says the owner Christian Mayrhofer. Photo: Solar Heat Europe
Bright jobs. A shift in the European energy system from fossil fuels to clean energy from renewable sources is crucial in our fight against climate change. The energy transition is a complex process, and it affects multiple aspects of our society. One of them is the workforce. How would it be to have more jobs in Europe and less CO2 emissions? Solar thermal heat is besides having a positive impact on the environment, brings another added value to the European society: local job opportunities! Photo: Solar Heat Europe
Crossing the border for a better life. The heating sector represents almost half of the European final energy demand, while transport represents 28% and electricity 25%. To achieve Europe’s goals of carbon neutrality by 2050, we need to act now on heat decarbonisation. Heating systems have an average lifetime over 20 years, so fossil fuels systems installed in 2030 could still be there beyond 2050. Sustainable and renewable energy systems are possible today if we start massive deployment of solutions currently available like solar thermal heat. Solar thermal technologies absorb sunlight through a collector and convert it directly into heat, being different than solar photovoltaics panels that produce electricity. This technology is extremely scalable, ranging from small decentralised domestic systems to large scale plants for district heating or industrial processes. The solar heating system in the French municipality of Creutzwald, bordering Germany, is an example of a large application that has a positive impact not only on its citizens, but also on the environment. The solar thermal plant was installed in 2020 by Savosolar, a Finnish company, and it serves the district heating network of Creutzwald, generating over 2,600 MWh of clean heat annually. Photo: Solar Heat Europe