Lower Saxony aims to become geothermal energy leader in Germany
Tagesspiegel Background / epd
The state of Lower Saxony is aiming to become a pioneer in geothermal energy, Tagesspiegel Background reports, citing an article by the epd news agency. "Geothermal energy is a source of energy that can be used sustainably and in an environmentally friendly manner, regardless of the time of day or the weather, right under our feet," Lower Saxony environment minister and Green Party member Christian Meyer told epd. Production companies and drilling technology manufacturers are very interested in switching from gas and oil to geothermal energy and making knowledge, technology and experience available nationwide, Meyer said. More than 90 percent of Germany's fossil gas and oil production takes place in Lower Saxony, so experience with deep drilling in the region is correspondingly large. In addition, existing oil and gas wells could be converted into geothermal energy. The northern coastal state has already set up an economic development fund to protect operators against the financial risk of geothermal heat projects.
A showcase project in the Lüneburg Heath region is meant to demonstrate how geothermal energy works. A former gas borehole is being used to pump hot water at a temperature of 147 degrees from a depth of around five kilometres to the surface and feed it into a geothermal power plant. "Until now no company has dared to drill such deep holes for geothermal energy," Meyer noted. Investigations are already underway at 13 locations to determine whether geothermal energy can be obtained at low cost.
Germany’s federal government is also looking at ways to better exploit geothermal energy for heating, which has so far been underutilised in the country. The economy and climate ministry last year launched a new exploration process to that end.