Sustainability Assessment Protocol for Geothermal Utilization
- 10-03-012
Coordinator: Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir,University of Iceland
Project finished in 2015

Total project cost

ISK 37.7 M


ISK 18.5 M











Sustainable utilization of geothermal energy means that it is produced and used in such a way that it is compatible with the well-being of current and future generations as clearly illustrated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. Ensuring that energy development fulfils that role is done, for example, through the use of energy indicators for sustainable development that are clearly defined, measurable and scientifically sound, contain benchmarks and can be interpreted in the context of sustainable energy development. The objective of this project was to develop a Sustainability Assessment Protocol for Geothermal Utilization (GSAP), tailored especially for geothermal energy development projects.

This protocol and indicators were developed and tested in three countries, Iceland, New Zealand and Kenya. The main achievements of the project were: i) the development of a full set of sustainability goals and indicators to be used for assessing geothermal developments at different stages and in different situations; these can be implemented relying on a similar process as applied to the implementation of Environmental Management Systems; and ii) the development of a method that has been generalized (and already applied in different contexts) for developing sustainability indicators with stakeholder participation.




Final report 2015

Assessing the Sustainability of Geothermal Utilization; Shortall, R., Axelsson, G. Davidsdottir, B. (2015);  J. Dewulf, S. De Meester, R. Alvarenga (Eds.) Sustainability Assessment of Renewables-Based Products: Methods and Case Studies. Wiley.

A sustainability assessment framework for geothermal energy projects: Development in Iceland, New Zealand and Kenya (2015); Shortall, R., Davidsdottir, B., Axelsson, G.; Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Volume 50, 372-407,

Geothermal Energy for Sustainable Development: A Review of Sustainability Impacts and Assessment Frameworks (2015); Shortall, R., Davidsdottir, B. & Axelsson, G.; Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 44, 391-406

Development of a sustainability assessment framework for geothermal energy projects (2015); Shortall, R., Davidsdottir, B. & Axelsson, G.; Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 44, 391-406

Creating a framework for assessing the sustainability of geothermal energy developments (2014); Shortall, R., Davidsdottir , B. & Axelsson, G.; 14th IAEE European Energy Conference, Rome, Italy, Conference proceedings

Methodology for Designing a Sustainability Assessment Framework for Geothermal Energy Developments (2015); Shortall, R., Davidsdottir , B., Axelsson, G.; World Geothermal Congress, Melbourne, Australia, Conference proceedings

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