19 Oct 2023, 13:15
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany could run 40% of its heating on geothermal energy – association

Zeit Online / Clean Energy Wire

Geothermal energy is a key tool for reaching climate neutrality and could cover 40 percent of Germany's heating needs, the head of the country's geothermal association said. "Geothermal energy is indispensable as a building block on the path to the heat transition," Helge-Uve Braun told an industry congress in Essen, news agency dpa reports in an article published by Zeit Online. He called for obstacles blocking geothermal expansion to be removed and for approval procedures to be accelerated, adding that obtaining permits can require eight to ten years in some cases. Braun also called for a state-subsidised insurance policy to cover the financial risks of projects.

The potential of geothermal energy generation for heating has so far been under-utilised in Germany. Deep geothermal energy could cover more than a quarter of the country's annual heat demand (over 300 TWh), according to a 2022 report by researchers from the Fraunhofer and Helmholtz associations. German chancellor Olaf Scholz recently pledged to greatly expand its use, saying his goal was to tap into the renewable energy’s potential as much as possible. He said the goal was to feed ten times as much geothermal energy into the heating network by 2030 as today. The share of geothermal heating in Germany currently lies at around one percent, according to dpa.

Germany is taking steps to decarbonise its heating sector by phasing out fossil boilers and requiring cities to draw up municipal heat plans. Emissions from heating buildings are directly responsible for around 15 percent of the country’s entire CO2 output and the construction sector has repeatedly missed its emission reduction targets.

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