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The Alpine regions are deeply involved in the challenge set by climate change, which is a threat for their environment and for important economic activities such as tourism. The heating and cooling of buildings account for a major share of the total primary energy consumption in Europe, and hence the energy policies should focus on this sector to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by international agreements. Geothermal heat pump is one of the least carbon-intensive technologies for the heating and cooling of buildings. It exploits the heat stored within the ground, a local renewable energy source which is widely available across the Alpine territory. Nevertheless, it has been little considered by European policies and cooperation projects. GRETA (near-surface Geothermal REsources in the Territory of the Alpine space) is a cooperation project funded by the EU INTERREG-Alpine Space program, aiming at demonstrating the potential of shallow geothermal energy and to foster its integration into energy planning instruments. It started in December 2015 and will last three years, involving 12 partners from Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia. In this paper, the project is presented, along with the results of the first year of work.
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