20 Nov 2019, 13:28
Freja Eriksen

Industry associations call for masterplan to boost deep geothermal energy

Clean Energy Wire

Germany needs a masterplan for deep geothermal energy in order to reap the technology's unused potential to lower CO2 emissions from heating, four industry associations have said in a joint paper. The 37 deep geothermal plants in operation today produce 1.2 terawatt hours (TWh) of climate neutral heat per year. The Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG), however, estimates that deep geothermal energy - mostly using boreholes that are 2,000 to 3,000 metres deep - has the potential to provide Germany with 100 TWh of heat per year by 2050 – almost 17 percent of the country's expected demand for heating at the time. Channeling geothermal energy through the country's district heating network would be a "logical" and efficient path – and could in the future replace coal-fired heating, write the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU), German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Geothermal Association (BVG) and Energy Efficiency Association for Heating, Cooling and CHP (AGFW). The associations propose that the current framework conditions for geothermal energy should be developed in order to make projects more attractive.

The heating sector accounts for half of Germany's final energy consumption, making it a vital element in the country's energy transition. Geothermal energy in Germany is largely used for heat production, only a small share for electricity. In 2018, deep geothermal energy accounted for 0.7 percent of Germany's heat consumption supplied by renewables, or 0.1 percent of the country's total heat consumption. Recently, an international research project set out to assess geothermal energy as a replacement for coal in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.

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